Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers at NASA captured this colorful, breathtaking view of a portion of the Orion Nebula, revealing a great deal of cosmic chaos at this location. The nebula is located around 1,500 light-years from Earth.
Scientists used Spitzer because its infrared detectors can sense the heat that newly formed stars release through the thick layers of gas and dust still enshrouding them. These objects appear as yellow dots in the image above.
The vast amount of hydrogen and sulfur gas that the stellar nursery is using to produce new stars is depicted in shades of green, while the orange and red indicate widespread, carbon-rich molecules.
All of these chemicals mix with four massive stars at the very core of the nebula, in its brightest area, and the new stars springing up all over the place. Orion is indeed a place where heavy chemical elements are produced. In time, supernova blasts will spread them to seed new planetary systems.