Globular clusters – dazzling agglomerations of up to a million ancient stars – are among the oldest objects in the universe. Though plentiful in and around many galaxies, newborn examples are vanishingly rare and the conditions necessary to create new ones have never been detected, until now.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered what may be the first known example of a globular cluster about to be born: an incredibly massive, extremely dense, yet star-free cloud of molecular gas.
“The Physical Conditions in a Pre Super Star Cluster Molecular Cloud in the Antennae Galaxies,” K. E. Johnson et al., 2015, to appear in the Astrophysical Journal [http://apj.aas.org, preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.06477].
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