What Is A Stellar Nursery

What Are Stellar Nurseries

Orion Nebula

Here is a breif overview to explain, what is a stellar nursery – the areas of the Universe where new stars are born.

Where it all begins

Right above our heads, just outside our planet, a story of life and death takes place that is being told in an amazing fashion. It all begins in vast stellar nurseries where new stars are born. These fertile areas of star structure are known as nebulae and are some of the most beautiful formations in the skies. Out of these, the Orion Nebula is maybe the most studied astronomical object. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Periesc is often regarded as the person to discover it in 1610, but there is evidence to actually suggest the Mayans knew of the faint smudge beneath the stars of Orion’s belt. In the darkest and clearest night sky, it can be seen with the naked eye, and it is this ever changing formation that has taught us most about how stars are born.


The Omega Nebula is a enormous interstellar cloud that is over fifteen light years across and lit up by hundreds of bright young stars. Depending on there masses these stars can burn up for hundreds of millions or even billions of years , projecting out a constant stream of light into the universe, up until there craving hunger depletes the hydrogen in their cores and forces them to expand and transform into giants.

What Are Stellar Nurseries

Mira Star

What happens in the end

Towards the end of their lives, the largest stars are transformed into colossal giants – like such stars as the red Mira, whose radius is 400 times the size of our own sun and just about hanging onto life. When these stars finally reach an end like this, only a small trace of star will be left after the ensuing supernova explosion. For the largest of the large, the supernova will leave a black hole behind – an object so dense even light can’t escape it. Stars just a little¬†will end their post supernova days as neutron stars, which we detect by the lighthouse beam of radio waves they emit as they spin every few seconds.

What happens to those smaller stars

Stars that are a lot smaller than Mira won’t go out with a bang. These small stars are the most common type of star in our galaxy, known as red dwarfs. The most famous of this kind to be studied is Gliese 581. Over 20 light years away from Earth, this star has been the subject of intense observation in recent times because of the six exoplanets to be discovered orbiting it. What is most exciting is that planet Gliese 581 g is believed to orbit within the habitable or goldilocks zone of the star and so is considered a prime location in the search for extraterrestrial life.