This Celestial Caterpillar May Not Become A Stellar Butterfly

IRAS 20324+4057 is a mouthful, and it's about 4,500 light years away, but it's also a star on the move. It's expanding to form a new star, but it's unclear how massive that new star will be. "Energetic" wind and light is displacing a lot of the gas and dust that would normally go into the "protostar." Depending on how the play between light and gravity resolves (over the next 100,000 years), the star could expand out and eventually develop into a planetary nebula, or could pull matter in and become a massive star. The protostellar nebula is about one light year across. It was imaged by Hubble in 2006, but the photo above was only released recently. Though it's unclear what will happen, NASA wants to start making predictions using "clever observations and deductions." We can all play a little stellar guessing game. [Astronomy Picture of the Day]

Update: You know who knows a lot about this protostar? Ashley Feinberg. That's why she posted it last week. But take another look, because it's pretty amazing, amirite?