The image above is an illustration of a knot of gas that is six trillion miles, or about one light year long. 

Why is this "tadpole in an interstellar pond," as this protostar has been called, shaped this way?

65 extremely bright stars are blasting this mass of gas and dust, named IRAS 20324+4057, with ultraviolet radiation, giving it its shape. 

For another look at IRAS 20324+4057, watch here:

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