The process in which a cloud of interstellar gas and dust collapses to form a new star. The collapse may be triggered by the shockwave from an exploding star, the gravity of a passing star cluster, or some other external source. The process fragments a cloud that may span many light-years into smaller pockets of matter, which collapse under their own gravitational pull. As such a pocket of matter collapses, its core gets hotter and hotter. When it gets hot enough, it triggers the process of nuclear fusion, which powers the newborn star.


Cosmic Beacons The stars that 'twinkle, twinkle' in the night...

Radio Programs

IC 1396 A busy stellar nursery Thursday, January 28, 2016
Odd Relationship Black holes shut down starbirth Thursday, December 17, 2015
Orion Nebula Looking into a cradle of young stars Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Polaris Flare A future stellar nursery Thursday, August 20, 2015
Stellar Metals A difference between young and old stars Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Future Quadruplets A star cloud prepares to give birth Thursday, April 16, 2015
Fewer New Stars A decline in the stellar birth rate Thursday, February 26, 2015
Orion Arm A short “arm” of the Milky Way Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Spiral Galaxies Pinwheels and whirlpools Monday, February 16, 2015
Local Bubble Clearing out interstellar space Wednesday, October 29, 2014
The Elephant’s Trunk An elephant’s trunk in the northern sky Sunday, October 12, 2014
Construction Zone A busy construction zone around a star Monday, August 11, 2014
The Brick Building a future stellar nursery Monday, July 28, 2014
Galactic Track A roller-coaster ride around the galaxy Sunday, July 27, 2014
Magellanic Collision New stars from a galactic collision Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Moon and Antares Siblings that age at different rates Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Serpens South Young stars that are hidden from view Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Eagle Nebula Inspirational beauty in the southern sky Saturday, June 21, 2014
Leo T A tiny galaxy with bright ambitions Sunday, May 25, 2014
Condor Galaxy The condor stretches its galactic wings Saturday, March 15, 2014
Cone Nebula A small, dark “horn” for the unicorn Thursday, February 27, 2014
NGC 2264 Lighting up a stellar nursery Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Orion Nebula A busy stellar nursery Thursday, January 23, 2014
Merging Stars Two stars that become one Saturday, October 5, 2013
Good Neighborhood A good neighborhood for young stars? Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Barnard 68 Lighting up a dark cloud Sunday, July 7, 2013
M13 Some bright stellar mysteries Sunday, May 19, 2013
Star Factory A massive factory for making stars Thursday, May 2, 2013
The Antennae Seeing the future of the Milky Way Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Flashy Neighbor Evidence of a flashy neighbor Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Molecule Factory Whipping up some complex molecules Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Mirfak The hero’s brightest star Monday, October 29, 2012
IC 10 A faint but busy galactic neighbor Monday, October 8, 2012
Andromeda Starburst Brightening up a giant galaxy Thursday, September 13, 2012
Steamy Sights Steamy sights in the southern sky Thursday, July 26, 2012
Pipe Nebula Lighting up a dark nebula Sunday, June 17, 2012
Hercules Cloud Piling up stars in the outer galaxy Thursday, May 24, 2012
AP Columbae A nearby stellar youngster Saturday, January 14, 2012
Wet Universe Sprinkling water throughout the cosmos Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Milky Way’s Heart V Youngsters at the heart of the Milky Way Friday, September 30, 2011
Smith's Cloud A future stellar nursery Sunday, July 17, 2011
Moon and Antares Giving birth to a big family of stars Monday, July 11, 2011
M83 Livening up the galactic boondocks Tuesday, April 26, 2011
TW Hydra Watching some stellar infants Monday, April 25, 2011

Featured Images

Strong winds blowing from a black hole in a distant spiral galaxy
Windy Black Hole Friday, January 15, 2016
The odd galaxy NGC 660
Busy Galaxy Friday, December 18, 2015
Jets from a protostar in Serpens
Huffing and Puffing Friday, November 6, 2015
Hubble Space Telescope image of a young star cluster
Anniversary Portrait Thursday, April 23, 2015
Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy Messier 66
Evidence of an Encounter Sunday, April 12, 2015
Infrared view of the interstellar medium
Filling the Void Thursday, April 9, 2015
Elephant Trunk Nebulan
Elephant's Trunk Sunday, October 12, 2014
Infrared view of Serpens South star cluster and nebula
Unmasking Hidden Stars Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Combined visible, X-ray image of M51, the whirlpool galaxy
Colorful Whirlpool Wednesday, June 4, 2014
NGC 3590
Young and Future Stars Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Condor galaxy
Night of the Condor Saturday, March 15, 2014
Space-based infrared view of the Rosette Nebula
Ruffled Rose Friday, February 28, 2014
NGC 2264, a stellar nursery in Monoceros
Star Factory Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Close-up Hubble Space Telescope view of the Orion Nebula
Beautiful Birthplace Thursday, January 23, 2014
The Cat's Paw Nebula in submillimeter and near-infrared light
Star Maker Friday, September 27, 2013
The star Gamma Cas blows away gas from a nearby nebula
Star Blaster Sunday, August 18, 2013
View of the 30 Doradus star cluster and the massive binary system R144
Megastars Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Visible light (left) and infrared view of the dark molecular cloud Barnard 68
Looking into the Darkness Sunday, July 7, 2013
Ultraviolet view of spiral galaxy NGC 6744 from the GALEX spacecraft
End of the Line Saturday, June 29, 2013
Starbirth region on the edge of the Milky Way galaxy
Starbirth Thursday, June 6, 2013
Combined visual and millimeter-wave view of Orion Nebula, M42
Cold Fire Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Antennae galaxies
Getting Together Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Star forming region in Orion
Hiding Places Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Gemini Observatory view of outskirts of Orion Nebula
Knotheads Thursday, January 10, 2013
The nearby starburst galaxy IC 10
Active Neighbor Monday, October 8, 2012
The Lagoon Nebula, M8, from the European Southern Observatory
Pink Lagoon Thursday, July 26, 2012
Infrared image of the Carina Nebula from space-based Herschel Observatory
Busy Nursery Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Star Stream Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Newborn stars in the Orion Nebula
Bright Babies Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Carina Nebula, a massive stellar nursery
Star Factory Monday, February 13, 2012
Infrared view of the spiral galaxy IC 342
Tangled Galaxy Sunday, January 22, 2012
Infrared view of starbirth in the vast nebula complex Cygnus X
Busy Nursery Friday, January 13, 2012
Optical and radio image of the Carina Nebula, a vast stellar nursery
Birthplace of the Stars Thursday, November 17, 2011
Radio image of the Antenna galaxies
Boundless Starbirth Wednesday, October 5, 2011
IC 2944, a stellar nursery in the constellation Centaurus
Seeing Red Thursday, September 22, 2011
X-ray view of the Carina Nebula, a stellar nursery 7,500 light-years from Earth
Star Factory Thursday, May 26, 2011
Artist's concept of TW Hydra, a young star encircled by a disk of gas and dust
Messy Youngster Monday, April 25, 2011
A view of NGC 3582, a large stellar nursery in Karina
Life and Death Tuesday, April 19, 2011
New stars and the raw materials for more stars in the stellar nursery NGC 6729
Star Maker Thursday, March 24, 2011
Spiral galaxy NGC 3621 in the constellation Hydra
Galactic Sparkler Wednesday, February 2, 2011
False-color image of Orion Nebula from European Southern Observatory
Delicate Power Friday, January 21, 2011
Hubble view of Hanny's Voorwerp and the galaxy IC 2497
In the Spotlight Tuesday, January 11, 2011
NGC 4666, a starburst galaxy
Lively Galaxy Friday, September 3, 2010
Hot young stars carve beautiful shapes in surrounding clouds of gas and dust.
Stellar Sculptors Thursday, July 15, 2010
Starbirth Factories
Starbirth Factories Monday, May 24, 2010
A "family" of young stars shows off in this combined infrared and X-ray view of
Big Family Friday, May 14, 2010
Cold Fingers Friday, March 19, 2010
Star Nursery Wednesday, February 10, 2010


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