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Cosmic Collisions: SOFIA Unravels the Mysterious Formation of Star Clusters

6 Nov 2018, 16:00 UTC
Cosmic Collisions: SOFIA Unravels the Mysterious Formation of Star Clusters NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook

The sun, like all stars, was born in a giant cold cloud of molecular gas and dust. It may have had dozens or even hundreds of stellar siblings – a star cluster – but these early companions are now scattered throughout our Milky Way galaxy. Although the remnants of this particular creation event have long since dispersed, the process of star birth continues today within our galaxy and beyond. Star clusters are conceived in the hearts of optically dark clouds where the early phases of formation have historically been hidden from view. But these cold, dusty clouds shine brightly in the infrared, so telescopes like the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, can begin to reveal these long-held secrets. 

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