<p>In visible light (top left), a cloud of dust and gas in the constellation Cygnus looks a bit like a map of North America. Now, infrared views of the region from <a id="wx3j" title="NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope" href="http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/">NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope</a> (bottom left and right) show the bustle of star birth happening in the North American nebula.</p><p>The new images reveal stars in the nebula at various stages of life, from stellar "embryos" wrapped in natal dust to young "parents" with budding planetary systems. Scientists studying the pictures have also found more than 2,000 points of light—most likely never before seen stars.</p>

American Beauty

In visible light (top left), a cloud of dust and gas in the constellation Cygnus looks a bit like a map of North America. Now, infrared views of the region from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (bottom left and right) show the bustle of star birth happening in the North American nebula.

The new images reveal stars in the nebula at various stages of life, from stellar "embryos" wrapped in natal dust to young "parents" with budding planetary systems. Scientists studying the pictures have also found more than 2,000 points of light—most likely never before seen stars.

Image courtesy L. Rebull, Caltech/SSC/NASA

Space Pictures This Week: Black Hole Ring, Moon Pit, More

Black hole "jewels" adorn a galactic ring, the sun aims a particle stream at Earth, and more in the week's best space pictures.

Read This Next

What drives elephant poaching? It’s not greed
How old are you, really? The answer is written on your face.
The rise of vegan safaris

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet