Battle for Star Birth

Carina Nebula Dust PillarGigantic dust pillars and newly formed stars in the Carina Nebula.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (U. California, Berkeley) et al., and The Hubble Heritage Team

April 1, 2013

These gigantic dust pillars are the perfect nursery for young stars, providing an abundance of material to form dense protostars that precede adult stars. When enough dust and particles collapse into a single area, a sphere of plasma will form and a star will eventually emerge.

In the image above, pink dots represent stars already formed, and the long, light jets are known as Herbig-Haro objects. These jets form when the young stars eject streams of gas into the neighboring dust clouds. You can learn more about dust pillars, HH objects, and star formation on NASA's website.