This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
The Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, is an emission nebula located 8,000 light years away in the Cassiopeia constellation. The bubble is created by stellar wind pushing out from a massive hot central star, visible here just left of the center of the image, a purple star partly obscured by blue gas clouds. The nebula is seven light years across—about one-and-a-half times the distance from our sun to its nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. This stunning image was observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to celebrate its 26th year in space.