The North American Nebula is a flattering portrait of the NAFTA countries, floating in space. But when the Spitzer Space Telescope generated infrared images of it, that stately American land mass was replaced by raw chaos — which tells us something more about the stages of stellar development.

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Here are some cute pictures of baby stars. [via Caltech]

The visible view of the North American Nebula

Visible light combined with infrared, with the continent still clearly visible

Infrared imaging

Infrared image shows all the stages of star development, including the hot gas around newborn stars.