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.

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

The visible view of the North American Nebula

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

Infrared imaging

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