This is an accretion disk around a forming protostar. The accretion disk is like two bowls with their bottoms up against one another. It’s very thin in the middle and flares out along the outer rims. For some reason which remains unknown to me, fast, collimated outflows or jets can erupt along the poles of the forming star. It’s either got something to do with magnetism or something to do with the way the outer envelope falls into the star… or maybe both, or something else? Turns out I have no idea what I’m doing.
The thin, dusty envelope was the hardest thing for me to figure out how to illustrate. It’s huge, everywhere, and falling down into the accreting protostar, and tends to get in our way of seeing these things because there’s so much of it.
Once again, I used Blender to help me visualize the dusty cloud. A lot of painting went over the top of that to add details that are very difficult to create in a volume model with Blender.
The PSF was modeled with Tiny Tim.