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There’s a Star Factory with Millions of New Stars in our Backyard

posted: 03/19/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
New star cluster
Jean Turner

Astronomers have identified a nearby star factory that is home to over a million nascent stars. Residing within a supernebula in dwarf galaxy NGC 5253, the star cluster is surrounded by an unusually large cloud of gas and carbon-dense dust.

"We are seeing the dust that the stars have created. Normally when we look at a star cluster, the stars long ago dispersed all their gas and dust, but in this cluster, we see the dust," remarked lead author Dr. Jean Turner of UCLA in a news release.

Different parts of the universe turn gas clouds into stars at different rates. The largest cloud in this supernebula converts at a rate at least 10 times faster than clouds in the Milky Way Galaxy. Turner expects the cluster to keep producing stars for more than a billion years.

Click here for the full news release from UCLA

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