NGC 1333 is seen in visible light as
a reflection nebula,
dominated by bluish hues characteristic of starlight reflected by dust.
A mere 1,000 light-years distant toward the heroic constellation
it lies at the edge of a large,
star-forming molecular cloud.
This striking close-up view spans
about two full moons on the sky or just over
15 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 1333.
It shows details of the dusty region
along with hints of contrasting red emission from
and shocked glowing gas emanating from recently formed stars.
In fact, NGC 1333 contains hundreds of stars less than
a million years old,
most still hidden
from optical telescopes by the
The chaotic environment may be similar to one in which our own Sun
formed over 4.5 billion years ago.