NASA's image of the day shows off Christmas Tree Cluster of infant stars

NASA regularly shares 'image of the day' photos that aim to highlight a particularly relevant and stunning image from its vast space photography catalog. The latest image features what is playfully referred to as the 'Christmas Tree Cluster,' a name that refers to the bright infant stars and vaguely tree-like nature of the dust clouds.

The image was made possible by the Spitzer Space Telescope, revealing a huge bed of newborn stars scattered amid star-forming clouds, the place of their 'birth,' according to NASA. The space agency notes that the stars still form a distinct pattern in the center of the cluster, earning it the term 'Snowflake Cluster.'

The baby stars in the center are red and pink — they're only around 100,000 years old, which isn't much in space terms, and they're still slowly moving away from their 'birth' location, ultimately making them what NASA refers to as 'protostars.' The image is bittersweet; as the stars grow older and move farther away, the star pattern in the middle will eventually disappear.

Surrounding this central cluster is the wider array of bright stars, all blue in color and with various shapes and sizes. When combined with the vast dust clouds, one can easily imagine them as the lights dotting a Christmas tree, one that you can only perceive by looking through Spitzer's 'infrared eyes.'

If you enjoyed this picture, you can head over to NASA's 'Image of the Day' gallery, where it posts a wide variety of stunning space images, as well as photos of some of its projects, meetings, astronauts on the ISS, rocket launches, and other fun things.