ALMA sees super stellar nurseries at heart of Sculptor Galaxy

February 16, 2015 7:46 PM

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ALMA sees super stellar nurseries at heart of Sculptor Galaxy

Starburst galaxies transmute gas into new stars at a dizzying pace — up to 1,000 times faster than typical spiral galaxies like the Milky Way. To help understand why some galaxies "burst" while others do not, an international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to dissect a cluster of star-forming clouds at the heart of the Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253), one of the nearest starburst galaxies to the Milky Way.

"All stars form in dense clouds of dust and gas," said Adam Leroy, an astronomer formerly with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia, and now with Ohio State University in Columbus. "Until now, however, scientists struggled to see exactly what was going on insi...

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