Hubble Christmas Card
All around us, stars are forming. In this stellar nursery spotted by Hubble, 170,000 light years away, diamond blue stars are destined to live fast and die young: far more massive than our sun, they will explode as supernovae within a few million years. Surrounding them is the hydrogen gas from whence they came, blown asunder by ultraviolet rays and violent streams of charged particles. And producing, from our angle, to our eyes, for the tiniest moment in the history of the universe, a rather festive tree.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy), R. O’Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee.