Dark Star-Forming Core Shines With Scattered Light
This series of images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a dark mass of gas and dust, called a core, where new stars and planets will likely spring up. This particular core lies deep within a larger dark cloud called L183.
The core is glowing because starlight that originated from nearby stars is being deflected off the core at infrared wavelengths that Spitzer sees. This particular type of glow, termed coreshine, helps astronomers study the age and consistency of a variety of star-forming cores.
The Spitzer observations were made with its infrared array camera.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Observatoire de Paris/CNRS