These observations of interstellar dark cloud L1157, located in the Cepheus constellation, were made using Caltech's Owens Valley Millimeter Array near Bishop, California.
The multi-colored area shows a dust disk surrounding a newborn star. The red-orange area at the center represents the brightest region, which contains the young star. It is surrounded by the cooler, dusty disk, which appears as yellow, green and blue. The diameter of the disk is about 20 times larger than our entire solar system.
The white lines trace the radio wave emission of methanol. Note that the methanol emission comes only from the outer parts of the disk. That is the zone where a warm shock occurs when the cloud material moves in toward the star and meets up with the outer surface of the disk.