Mar 24, 2020 - Science

A glowing cloud in deep space could unlock how massive stars grow

Stars forming in space
Photo: ESA/Hubble/NASA/I. Stephens

A pink stellar cloud not far from the Tarantula Nebula 160,000 light-years away is demonstrating how extremely massive stars form.

The state of play: The cloud — known as LHA 120-N 150 — contains dozens of newly forming massive stars and clumps of dust that could help scientists learn more about whether large stars form in dense clusters or in isolation, according to ESA.

The big picture: LHA 120-N 150 is located within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy relatively close to the Milky Way. The star formation within the cloud was likely sparked by interactions between the LMC and its neighboring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

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