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Mon Dec 16, 2013, 05:09 PM

Giant Star Cluster in the Making

Giant Star Cluster in the Making



Dec. 16, 2013 — W49A might be one of the best-kept secrets in our galaxy. This star-forming region shines 100 times brighter than the Orion nebula, but is so obscured by dust that very little visible or infrared light escapes.

The Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array (SMA) has peered through the dusty fog to provide the first clear view of this stellar nursery. The SMA revealed an active site of star formation being fed by streamers of infalling gas.

"We were amazed by all the features we saw in the SMA images," says lead author Roberto Galván-Madrid, who conducted this research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

W49A is located about 36,000 light-years from Earth, on the opposite side of the Milky Way. It represents a nearby example of the sort of vigorous star formation seen in so-called "starburst" galaxies, where stars form 100 times faster than in our galaxy.

More:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216142428.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29

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