Physics & Astrophysics
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Too many massive stars found in nearby starburst
An international team including a Keele astronomer have used the Very Large Telescope in the Chilean Atacama desert to count and weigh the stars formed in the dense star cluster at the centre of the extreme star forming complex called the Tarantula Nebula, in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. They found that this cloud has formed many more of the most massive stars, compared to what is typically found in our own Milky Way galaxy. This has important implications for how we understand the process of star formation, and in particular the formation of the first generations of stars in the early, very distantly observed Universe and for which the Tarantula Nebula is thought to be a blueprint.