This spectacular image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of the group of galaxies called Stephan's Quintet has provided a detailed view of one of the most exciting star forming regions in the local Universe. Stephan's Quintet is a favoured object for amateur astronomers and has earned a reputation as a challenging target for good hobby telescopes. The quintet is a prototype of a class of objects known as compact groups of galaxies and has been studied intensively for decades.
The Horsehead Nebula is a cloud of ionized-hydrogen in the constellation Orion. These clouds are lit from within by young, hot stars. The interstellar dust absorbs the light from part of the ionized cloud creating this beautiful contrast. Image Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)