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Chinese astronomers offer new insight on star formation
Astronomers have long thought clusters could only form stars in bulk at once in the first millions of years of their "lives". However, recent discoveries of multiple star populations at different ages in clusters have made astronomers question the conventional theory of star birth
To solve the puzzle, a research team led by Deng Licai, astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), studied data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope for one year.
Their study has, for the first time, found young populations of stars within clusters have developed from star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves,standing in contrast to the conventional idea of the clusters' initial stars shedding gas as they age in order to form next generation of stars.
"The young stellar populations, which originated from gas external to the clusters, are like the adopted children of the clusters," said Deng
The research was published in the online edition of top science journal Nature on Thursday.