A star is born. Hidden at the centre of this blazing hourglass is a hot clump of gas that is on its way to forming a star. Known as L1527, it is only around 100,000 years old and will take some time to coalesce to the point of igniting nuclear fusion and becoming a full-grown star. Here, gas and dust are clumping together, forming an accretion disk that appears as a small black band at the centre of the image. The protostar embedded within illuminates clouds of gas and dust that blow outwards on either side, forming the hourglass shape. Blue represents areas where the dust is thinnest and orange those where it is thickest.
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI