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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 May 21, 2010

Radio Programs

NGC 7469 Starbirth in a busy galaxy September 16, 2023

Hercules A A black hole “powerhouse” August 31, 2023

Beauty and the Beast A cosmic “Beauty and the Beast” August 4, 2023

Binary Stars Stars with traveling companions July 30, 2023

Busy Nursery An amazing stellar nursery July 23, 2023

The Stinger The scorpion’s bright stinger July 16, 2023

Strong Infant An infant star near a giant black hole July 11, 2023

Big Jellyfish Sculpting a galactic jellyfish May 19, 2023

Future Monster The birth of a monster star May 2, 2023

Making a Giant Stirring up a beast of a galaxy April 20, 2023

Moon and Antares Lighting up a stellar nursery April 9, 2023

Vulpecula Future fireworks for the fox March 18, 2023

Declining Birth Rate The declining stellar birth rate March 17, 2023

Galactic Fossils Colorful galactic “fossils” March 13, 2023

Elephant’s Trunk A disappearing elephant’s trunk October 29, 2022

Triangulum Galaxy A galaxy that’s churning out stars October 25, 2022

Close Nursery A close, young stellar nursery October 17, 2022

Cocoon Nebula Bright and dark stellar nurseries August 22, 2022

Seagull Nebula A giant seagull in the evening sky March 29, 2022

Smith’s Cloud Getting ready for some fireworks December 2, 2021

Puffy Disk A small galaxy with a big impact November 30, 2021

Busy Galaxy New stars by the thousands September 21, 2021

Green Peas Dishing up some busy little galaxies September 10, 2021

Making More Stars Quick births in a stellar nursery September 5, 2021

Making Stars Making and breaking new stars September 4, 2021

Eagle Nebula The “eggs” of a celestial eagle August 8, 2021

Serpens South Young stars that are hidden from view August 7, 2021

GN-z11 A trip to the early universe April 12, 2021

Magnetic Birth Magnetic fields and the birth of stars February 8, 2021

Super Clusters Super star clusters in a nearby galaxy December 8, 2020

Galactic Ripples Rippling through the Milky Way September 7, 2020

Galactic UFO A “UFO” from a giant black hole July 8, 2020

Serpens Nurseries Busy nurseries in the serpent July 6, 2020

Windy Black Holes Star-killing winds from black holes June 15, 2020

Southern Pinwheel Pinwheeling across the southern sky April 28, 2020

Galactic Fireworks Fireworks from a modest galaxy April 12, 2020

‘Windy’ Galaxies Busy galaxies that underperform March 25, 2020

Alnitak Giving birth to supergiants March 11, 2020

Witch Head Nebula Illuminating the face of a witch January 20, 2020

Triangulum Galaxy A galaxy in a class of its own November 17, 2019

Stellar Nurseries A busy stellar nursery August 29, 2019

Starburst The Milky Way gets busy August 18, 2019

Cloudy Skies Flickering clouds near young stars March 29, 2019

Making Stars Stirring up stellar nurseries March 11, 2019

Orion Veil A type of stellar birth control March 2, 2019

More Monoceros Starbirth in the unicorn February 12, 2019

Extreme Starbursts Taking starbirth to the extreme November 20, 2018

Atoms for Peace A speech lives on in the stars September 28, 2018

Moon and Antares Impressive groups of stars September 15, 2018

Barnard 68 The birthplace of future stars June 7, 2018

Pipe Nebula Puffing through the Milky Way June 6, 2018

Embryonic Planet? A possible new planet around a new star May 2, 2018

‘O’ Stars The showiest stars in the galaxy April 12, 2018

Second-Chance Planets New planets after a stellar explosion January 25, 2018

Feedback Slowing down the stellar birth rate September 8, 2017

Making a Star Stages in the birth of a star September 7, 2017

Scorpion’s Tail The scorpion’s fearsome tail July 13, 2017

Scorpion’s Head An arachnid with a case of the “bighead” July 12, 2017

Leo’s Triplets A galactic trio in the lion May 11, 2017

Vela Nursery Sailing into a young stellar nursery April 2, 2017

Growth Spurt A growth spurt in a distant galaxy March 27, 2017

M82 A gas crisis for a vigorous galaxy March 26, 2017

Featured Images

infrared view of embryonic star firing jets into the material around it

Shocking Behavior September 15, 2023

sombrero galaxy

Brimmed Galaxy May 31, 2023

Infrared view of the Coronet star cluster, a stellar nursery

Spidery Nebula May 18, 2023

a huge cloud of gas and newly forming stars make up the vulpecula OB-1 association

Future Fireworks March 18, 2023

james webb telescope view of a dark stellar nursery

Dark Nursery January 24, 2023

JWST image of a giant stellar nursery

Busy Nursery January 11, 2023

merging galaxies from webb, hubble space telescopes

Dual Merger October 27, 2022

james webb space telescope view of the pillars of creation

New Look at Starbirth October 23, 2022

james webb telescope view of portion of the orion nebula

Starry Bar September 13, 2022

james webb space telescope image of tarantula nebula

Stars Galore September 9, 2022

cocoon nebula

Bright and Dark August 22, 2022

composite view of tarantula nebula

Spidery Star Lanes June 16, 2022

Star-forming regions on the edge of the Local Bubble

Bubbly Surroundings March 31, 2022

seagull nebula

Graceful Seagull March 29, 2022

hubble view of arp 143, a pair of colliding galaxies

Cosmic Collision February 25, 2022

possible protostar in chamaeleon nebula

New Light December 9, 2021

dust in flame nebula

Dark Flame November 24, 2021

rcw 120, a busy stellar nursery

Stellar Bubble September 5, 2021

A stellar nursery known as the Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation August 8, 2021

ngc 4303

New Stars Galore July 17, 2021

artist's concept of ID2299, a galaxy that is losing much of its gas

Losing Gas January 12, 2021

NGC 247, a galaxy in Sculptor

Galactic Dark Zone December 7, 2020

Star Factory June 15, 2020

Hubble Space Telescope view of Messier 83, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

Mini Milky Way April 27, 2020

ngc 2014, ngc 2020

Stellar Reef April 25, 2020

Hubble Space Telescope view of galaxy NGC 4449

Windy Galaxy March 25, 2020

Rosette Nebula

A Big Rose January 26, 2020

Perseus Molecular Cloud in Infrared

Stellar Nursery December 27, 2019

NGC 604 in the Triangulum Galaxy

Star Factory November 17, 2019

NGC 6052

Messy Merger August 20, 2019

Infrared view of a stellar nursery in Cepheus

Busy Nursery June 3, 2019

W40 stellar nursery

Delicate Butterfly March 28, 2019

Galactic Nurseries March 11, 2019

ALMA view of jets and outflows from a newborn star

Busy Baby February 27, 2019

ngc 2264

Rolling Starbirth February 12, 2019

A stellar nursery in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Blowing Bubbles February 6, 2019

Hubble Space Telescope view of D100, a galaxy that is losing gas as it plummets into the Coma Cluster

Running Out of Gas January 25, 2019

the merging galaxy ngc 3256

Galactic Mash-Up June 2, 2018

Hubble Space Telescope view of the core of the Lagoon Nebula

Colorful Nursery April 24, 2018

Dusty Star April 14, 2018

Hubble view of NGC 2467

Starry Lineup April 10, 2018

Composite view of the Orion Nebula

Future Stars March 8, 2018

Quasar 3c 298

'Pushy' Black Hole February 26, 2018

Lupus 3 star forming region

Light and Dark February 8, 2018

multi-wavelength views of the giant galaxy UGC 1382

Surprising Monster October 15, 2017

Multi-wavelength view of NGC 6946, the Fireworks Galaxy

Fireworks Factory August 23, 2017

VLT image of three galactic nebulae: M17, M16, and Sharpless 2-54

Galactic Nurseries June 29, 2017

ALMA view of an explosion in the Orion Nebula

Violent Starbirth April 7, 2017

HST view of Messier 82

Busy Galaxy March 26, 2017

NGC 6334 and NGC 6357

Galactic Menagerie February 2, 2017

sequence of images depicting the merger of M31 and Milky Way galaxies

Crash Course January 11, 2017

Infrared view of Orion Nebula and surrounding clouds of gas and dust

Making Stars January 5, 2017

Protoplanetary disks around three young stars

Swirling Planets November 9, 2016

R136, a massive star cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Biggest of the Big July 6, 2016

A star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Busy Nursery June 18, 2016

V1331 Cygni, a newly forming star

Almost There June 14, 2016

Strong winds blowing from a black hole in a distant spiral galaxy

Windy Black Hole January 15, 2016

The odd galaxy NGC 660

Busy Galaxy December 18, 2015

Jets from a protostar in Serpens

Huffing and Puffng November 6, 2015

Hubble Space Telescope image of a young star cluster

Anniversary Portrait April 23, 2015

Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy Messier 66

Evidence of an Encounter April 12, 2015

Infrared view of the interstellar medium

Filling the Void April 9, 2015