Astrophysics

One shot for stardom and a clean sweep

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Science  13 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6189, pp. 1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1239-g

In galactic regions experiencing lively bouts of star formation, we sometimes find tidy spheres of massive stars without residual gas. These young star associations offer astronomers an enhanced, dense environment in which to study star formation, quite unlike our own more sedate solar neighborhood. How these clusters formed has been a longstanding puzzle. Previous observational evidence suggested that a parent gas cloud could fragment into many cores, forming stars that energize and sweep away the remaining gas. Banerjee and Kroupa have now reproduced the central young cluster in NGC 3603 with a simulation involving just one episode of star birth, supporting that hypothesis. According to the authors, this scenario can explain the formation of clusters such as the Pleiades and Orion as well.

Astrophys. J. 787, 158 (2014).

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