In this mesmerizing view of a stellar nursery by the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, a stunning celebration is underway.
PHOTOS: Herschel's Coolest Infrared Hotshots
Located some 22,000 light-years from Earth, this star-forming nebula is undergoing dramatic changes. Deep within the cloud of cool hydrogen gas, young stars cook the region from the inside-out, driving hot ionized gas to the edge of the cloud, bursting into the interstellar medium like the bubbling foam of a popped champagne bottle.
This beautiful cosmic effect is known, perhaps unsurprisingly, as "champagne flow" and it can be studied to understand the dynamics of stellar nebulae.
PHOTO: Staring into the Maw of a Mysterious Cosmic Globule
Interestingly, through the use of the VLT's infrared-probing capabilities, cutting through the thick cloud of dust that is blocking visible light from view, astronomers have also been able to work out that this cloud has undergone many celebrations in the past.
Dotted throughout the nebula are young stars, only a fraction of the mass of our sun, that appear to become older toward the center of the nebula. This indicates that the older, more massive stars spawned near the center of the cloud, triggered the episodic formation of lower mass stars later.