Scientists show never-before-seen cosmic 'baby bubble' in dramatic pic

Researchers have released a new dramatic image that shows off an incredible cosmic birthplace of stars in never-before-seen detail.

1 minute & 2 seconds read time

The birthplace of stars are still somewhat of a mystery to astronomers, and as humans continue to expand our knowledge of the universe, we begin to understand more about how stars develop over long stretches of time.

Scientists show never-before-seen cosmic 'baby bubble' in dramatic pic 01

Stars form in specific regions, and one of those regions is Westerlund 2, which is located around 20,000 light-years away from Earth. This star-factory region of space hasn't been observed in high resolution until now, and from the above image, we can see that the star cluster is surrounded by a bubble of gas. It was previously hypothesized that Westerlund 2 was surrounded by two bubbles of gas, but now astronomers understand that its just one.

The study's lead author Maitraiyee Tiwari, a postdoctoral associate in astronomy at the University of Maryland, said, "When massive stars form, they blow off much stronger ejections of protons, electrons, and atoms of heavy metal, compared to our sun. These ejections are called stellar winds, and extreme stellar winds are capable of blowing and shaping bubbles in the surrounding clouds of cold, dense gas. We observed just such a bubble centered around the brightest cluster of stars in this region of the galaxy, and we were able to measure its radius, mass, and the speed at which it is expanding."

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