Oh, man. With the IAU meeting going on right now, I knew I'd be blasted with news and pretty pictures... and I was right.
Nipping at the heels of the gorgeous image of a star-forming region in a nearby galaxy comes this:
... a star-forming region in our Galaxy. That's the famous Orion Nebula, a humongous cloud of gas and dust that is busily cranking out stars. It's about 1500 light years away, but so luminous it's a naked-eye object, the middle "star" in Orion's dagger.
This view is in the infra-red, which tells us a lot of interesting info about astronomical objects. In the case of Orion Nebula, they found what may be as many as 2300 planet-forming disks deep inside the cloud. Think of all those nascent solar systems, being born as we watch them.
There's more than just that, of course, but I'll simply send you to the press release for that. In the meantime, I'll be downloading all the high-res images, staring at them... and waiting for the next gonzo result from the IAU meeting.