This image depicts a scene, about 8,000 light years in the distance, filled with gas and dust that has partially collapsed under its own weight to form a cluster of bright new stars. The stars that provide most of the illumination cannot be seen, however. They are still buried deep behind very dense clouds which appear as the dark areas toward the right side of the picture.

Stars are, essentially, gigantic continuous non-stop thermonuclear explosions that last for millions to billions of years and, as a result, they release huge quantities of energy. One of the behaviors exhibited by new stars, for instance, is they begin to blow back the clouds of dust and gas from which they were formed. You can see evidence of the winds being produced by the stars that are still hidden inside the Omega Nebula when you notice the amazing windswept and winding patterns that are apparent in the clouds.

If you have a moment to look at the larger or close-up version of this picture, you may notice several lumpy shapes in the upper purplish-blue colored area. These are globules of dust and gas that are in the process of collapsing and may already hold stars inside that are newly formed or well on their way to becoming new stars.

The curious area in the lower middle of the picture is also a star forming region, New stars have formed in the narrow region between the bright pink cup-shaped object and the tails of gas and dust that extend leftward. A bright blue and gold cluster of stars in the lower portion of the image is actually in front of the nebula, closer to Earth- we see them here because they are in our direct line of sight.