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Stay tuned: New star coming in 1 million years

Radio telescope catches early stage of formation

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12:55pm, December 23, 2009

Before a star can be born, gas and dust from a cold interstellar cloud must gather together into a distinct clump. Astronomers say they have now witnessed this earliest of steps in the star-birthing process.

French scientists used a radio telescope to home in on emissions from a dark, dusty cloud of material in the Taurus star-forming region some 400 light-years from Earth. By mapping dust emission from the cloud along with two chemical tracers of density, the researchers found that the cloud has begun to detach from its surroundings and contra

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