This lovely image shows the region of sky around the star Rho Ophiuchi, an area of the galaxy rich in gas and dust. This star forming factory is only about 400 light years away, making it one of the closest and best-studied objects in the sky.
Blobs of gas light years across are visible, as well as wisps and sharp shock fronts as stellar winds from new stars slam into the surrounding material. Much of this is blocked from view to visible light telescopes due to the dust, but Spitzer peers through that veil to see what lies underneath. Young stars still shrouded in dust appear red in this image, while older stars that have blown away their birth cocoon appear bluer.Original blog postOriginal press releaseImage credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA