An embryonic star
Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 1:53 -
This is what a star looks like before it's born:
Somewhere in that large nebula is what the European Space Agency calls an "embryonic star" that is already eight times more massive than our own mature sun.
The pic is the ESA's image of the week.
Aside from the star-to-be, that cloud of stellar material contains the equivalent of 2,000 solar masses, so by the time fusion starts up, the galactic newcomer could be huge.
The nebula, some 4,300 light years away, was first spotted by the ESA's Herschel Space Observatory mission, with its results first presented in 2010.
Herschel's four-year mission came to an end in April 2013. Scientists plan to meet in the Netherlands this week to discuss the mission's scientific breakthroughs.
With NASA still embroiled in the U.S. government shutdown, you can get your cosmic eye candy fix from the ESA's own gallery.