JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Star birth. Artwork of a new star shining in an illuminated gaseous cloud (reflection nebula), as seen from a nearby Saturn-like planet. Stars form when a dense part of a nebula begins to pull material towards it by gravitational attraction. Material falling towards the dense region (protostar) converts its gravitational potential energy into heat. The protostar becomes so hot that the atomic nuclei in its core bind together when they collide, a process known as fusion. This releases large amounts of energy, & a star is born. Blue reflection nebulae are formed of dust and gas. The dust grains scatter light from nearby stars.
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