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ALMA sees 100,000 stellar nurseries in nearby galaxies

26 Mar 2019, 13:00 UTC
ALMA sees 100,000 stellar nurseries in nearby galaxies ALMA: (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) and NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton; VLT: ESO

On small scales, astronomers understand how stars are born.

You start with a nebula — a big cloud of gas and dust — and compress it somehow. Maybe it collides with another cloud, or a nearby star explodes, or a massive nearby star slams it with its powerful solar wind. Then physics takes over, with the cloud (or parts of it) collapsing down, flattening out, then forming a disk with a star (or multiple stars) in the middle. Eventually the center gets dense and hot enough to start fusing hydrogen into helium. A star is born.

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