Seeing Stars in Serpens
Infant stars are glowing gloriously in this infrared image of the Serpens star-forming region, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
The reddish-pink dots are baby stars deeply embedded in the cosmic cloud of gas and dust that collapsed to create it. A dusty disk of cosmic debris, or "protoplanetary disk," that may eventually form planets, surrounds the infant stars.
Wisps of green throughout the image indicate the presence of carbon rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. On Earth, these molecules can be found on charred barbecue grills and in automobile exhaust. Blue specks sprinkled throughout the image are background stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
The Serpens star-forming region is located approximately 848 light-years away in the Serpens constellation.
The image is a three-channel, false-color composite, where emission at 4.5 microns is blue, emission at 8.0 microns is green, and 24 micron emission is red.