About 4,500 light-years away, in the constellation Cygnus, lies an elongated cloud of interstellar dust and gas that resembles a caterpillar. Called IRAS 20324+4057, the cloud is over a light-year in length. The “head” of the cloud harbors a protostar at a very early stage of formation, still in the process of accumulating material from the cloud around it.

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