Aided by a gravitational zoom lens, astronomers have discovered the hottest, brightest, and most crowded star-forming region observed so far. Ablaze with a million newborn stars, the Lynx arc, named after the constellation in which it resides, lies 12 billion light-years from Earth. Telescope images of the Lynx arc thus reveal what conditions were like when the now 14-billion-year-old universe was only 2 billion years old. At that time, only a few generations of stars had lit up the cosmos.
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