This short talk it intended for non-astronomers who are interested in learning how stars form and how astronomical research is actually done in practice.
While our Sun is almost 5 billion years old, stars still form in the dark clouds of our Milky Way. When we observe those regions we can learn how star and planet formation works, so that we also understand the formation of our own solar system and the Earth better.
I will describe how we observe those regions that are hidden to the naked eye using infrared and X-ray telescopes to obtain stunning images of stellar nurseries. Zooming in on just a few of the young stars, I show how a gas cloud collapses to form a hot gas core that is the birth place of another sun and possibly a few planets. This is the stage of star formation where I concentrate my own research and I will describe how professional astronomers gain access to space telescopes, share my experiences of how to use the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for my observations of young stars and I will show an example of how we process the observations to extract scientific conclusions.
Star formation is a very active area of research with many open questions to solve and certainly one of the areas in astronomy that delivers extremely beautiful images of the Milky Way that surrounds us.