Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

In this spectacular image, Hubble spots a giant cosmic caterpillar- crawling along the celestial ether - in search of a meal.

 

Amazingly, this construct - dubbed IRAS 20324+4057 - is the work of 65 hot, o-type stars (called the Cygnus OB2 association) working in harmony. As they spit out a barrage of ultraviolet radiation, they erode the cocoon that still encases the proto-star (which can be seen right in the middle of the action).

 

This erosion provides the backdrop of one of the most picturesque stellar nurseries in our galaxy (this particular one is located some 4,500 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation). From nose to tail, the little guy stretches almost an entire light-year (or about 6 TRILLION miles).


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