The amazing stellar light show was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, and may be able to give scientists more information about the chaotic beginnings of stars in our galaxy.
The images show the remains of a collision that actually occurred 500 years ago. Due to the time it takes for light to travel to Earth, it is only now that we have manage to view it from our little corner of the universe.
Situated approximately 1350 light years from Earth in the constellation of Orion, a dense and active star formation called the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC-1) exists.
Stars are born into the universe when massive clouds of gas hundreds of times larger than our Sun collapse under their own gravity. Over time, some stars can end up falling towards a central point of gravity, usually dominated by a large protostar.
If the stars end up having a close encounter before they escape their stellar nursery, a violent collision can occur.
In this case, scientists are saying that around 100,000 years ago, several protostars started to form within OMC-1, and with gravity pulling them together at increasing speeds, around 500 years ago a collision occurred between 2 of them.
Astronomers aren’t sure whether it was a head on collision, or simply a graze between the 2 protostars.