This intriguing view of a stellar nursery called IC 2944 was released to celebrate a milestone – 15 years of successful observations by ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The image shows a group of thick dust clouds known as the Thackeray globules silhouetted against the pink glowing gas of the nebula. These globules are under fierce bombardment by ultraviolet radiation from nearby hot young stars. They are being eroded and also fragmenting, rather like lumps of butter dropped into a hot frying pan. Astronomers believe Thackeray’s globules will probably be destroyed before they can collapse and form new stars.