The Spitzer Space Telescope of NASA has recently captured numerous newborn stars or protostars covered by thick clouds of dust in NGC 2264. Reports claimed that these stars are located some 2,600 light-years away in the constellation of Monoceros.
The scientists have explained that the star-forming clouds are extremely dynamic and evolving structures. It expels a huge amount of dust in the process of giving birth to newborn stars. Due to this dust, the nascent stars appear as faint specks of light. This amazing picture is reportedly one of the very latest observations by the NASA telescope.
Infant stars form 'Snowflake Cluster'
NASA said that the infrared astronomical image clicked by the telescope showed the newborn stars as pink and red spots drifting towards the centre and slowly forming structure resembling the pattern of a snowflake or the spokes of a wheel. Thus, the astronomers have named this as the 'Snowflake Cluster'.
The astronomers said that these infant structures have yet to 'crawl' away from their location of birth at a mere 100,000 years old. Eventually, each star will drift away in its natural motion and the snowflake formation will break. While most of the stars that gave the so-called Christmas Tree Cluster its name and triangular shape do not shine brightly in Spitzer's infrared eyes, all of the stars forming from this dusty cloud are considered part of the cluster.
"Like a dusty cosmic finger pointing up to the newborn clusters, Spitzer also illuminates the optically dark and dense Cone Nebula, the tip of which can be seen towards the bottom left corner of the image," NASA explained.
While spying on the stars and capturing every stage of its life, the NASA telescope has mapped the Milky Way and clicked magnificent images of nebulas. Spitzer also observed beautiful things such as a new ring around Saturn and exoplanets.