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Contact: Charles Blue
cblue@nrao.edu
434-296-0314
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Starless Cores

Caption: This image shows the ALMA data overlaid on an artist's impression background. The ALMA data show two main cores as imaged by emission from the molecular ion N2D+ (two nitrogen and one deuterium atom). The core on the right is particularly bright and rounded, suggesting it is self-gravitating and poised to form a massive, single star – a very rare occurrence in star formation. The other core appears more distorted and fragmented, potentially leading to the formation of multiple lower-mass stars. This fragmentation is a normal process in star-forming clouds.

Credit: Credit: Bill Saxton & Alexandra Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

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Related news release: Starless cloud cores reveal why some stars are bigger than others


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