The European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory is designed to collect long-wavelength radiation from some of the coldest and most distant objects in the universe. In this image, Herschel has photographed a previously unseen stellar nursery, where it is estimated that up to 700 newly forming stars are crowded into the dust cloud seen in this photograph.
This stellar nursery is 65 light-years across, and no previous infrared satellite has been able to see into it because the nursery’s dust cloud is so dense. The two bright regions within the cloud are due to large newborn stars causing hydrogen gas to shine. This stellar nursery is located in the constellation Aquila, which is 1000 light-years from Earth.