Astronomers create 3D-printed stellar nurseries

Astronomers can’t touch the stars they study, but an astrophysicist is using 3-dimensional models that fit in the palm of her hand to unravel the structural complexities of stellar nurseries, the vast clouds of gas and dust where star formation occurs. Astronomers created the models using data from simulations of star-forming clouds and a sophisticated 3D printing process in which the fine-scale densities and gradients of the turbulent clouds are embedded in a transparent resin.