DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Star birth. Artwork showing the birth of a star (upper right) from a nebula. Stars form when the gases in a nebula coalesce. As the nebula gets denser, the gases get hotter, until the gas is dense and hot enough for nuclear reactions to begin. The nuclear reactions then blow away much of the gaseous material that still surrounds the star. Numerous starbirth regions are known. They are detectable as the radiation from hot young stars causes the gas to glow in the characteristic light of ionised hydrogen. Planets and cold dust are also seen in this nebula.
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