Stellar Wonderland. For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered.
Although there are no seasons in space, this cosmic vista invokes thoughts of a frosty winter landscape. It is, in fact, a region called NGC 6357 where radiation from hot, young stars is energizing the cooler gas in the cloud that surrounds them.
The intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity.
NGC 6357 spans about 100 light years and lies about 5,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. Within 10 million years, the most massive stars currently seen in NGC 6357 will have exploded.
This zoom video sequence starts with a broad view of the Milky Way. We close in on one of the regions of active star formation in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion) and a curious landscape of vast numbers of stars, glowing gas and dust is revealed. The final view shows the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of this stellar nursery, named NGC 6357.