Globular clusters are the splendid clusters of stars that most probably comprise your favorite phantasmagorias of space. Though, not galaxies in their own right, these star clusters are tightly bound by gravity around a core, giving them sphere-like shapes that looks near perfect. They contain millions of stars, many of which belongs to the oldest in the universe.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) contends to have spotted a globular cluster in its early stages of birth around 50 million light years away. An edition of the Astrophysical Journal will publish their findings.
“We may be witnessing one of the most ancient and extreme modes of star formation in the universe,” Kelsey Johnson of the University of Virginia, the lead author declared in a statement. “This remarkable object looks like it was plucked straight out of the very early universe. To discover something that has all the characteristics of a globular cluster, yet has not begun making stars, is like finding a dinosaur egg that’s about to hatch.”
“Firecracker,” the name researchers are calling the planetary object, is located inside two interacting galaxies known as the Antennae.
The collaboration between these two galaxies spark the birth of star formations, but Firecracker has not lit up yet. It is awaiting for the big boom for it to ignite, so to speak.
Based on ALMA’s reading, the pre-cluster of stars has dense cloud of molecular gas that could one day transfigure into stars.
Even though the cloud is not very big, it is extremely dense with 50 million times more in mass compared to our very own sun.
Literally, it’s extremely under heavy pressure and it is waiting to blow its top. The researchers approximate that it is more or less 10,000 times more pressurized than an average interstellar space, which will one day aid the stars formed there go globular.
“Until now, clouds with this potential have only been seen as teenagers, after star formation had begun. That meant that the nursery had already been disturbed. To understand how a globular cluster forms, you need to see its true beginnings,” Johnson said.