ESA’s Herschel space observatory set against a background image of stellar nursery W40, 1000 light-years away in the constellation Aquila.
W40 is about 25 light-years across. It is a vast cloud of hydrogen gas, illuminated by the radiation streaming out from at least three young massive stars embedded in the cloud. About six hundred newly forming stars are crowded into these colourful filaments of dust.
The background image was created from observations by Herschel’s PACS and SPIRE instruments.