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The nebula and star-forming region RCW 49, shown in infrared light in this image from the Spitzer Space Telescope, is a nursery for newborn stars. Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have found in RCW 49 more than 300 newborn or "protostars", all with circumstellar disks of dust and gas. The discovery reveals that galaxies make new stars at a much more prolific rate than previously imagined. The stelar disks of dust and gas not only feed material onto the growing new stars, but can be the raw material for new planetary systems.
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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Wisconsin-Madison
Image enhancement: Jean-Baptiste Faure