What are star clusters? | Space

The universe is a complicated place filled with complicated things, from the micro scale of atoms to the macro scale of galaxy clusters. Somewhere on the larger side of that spectrum fall star clusters, which are more or less exactly what their name implies. Star clusters are groups of hundreds to millions of stars that provide astronomers crucial insight into stellar evolution through comparisons of stars’ ages and compositions.

“Star clusters form out of large interstellar regions of gas and dust called molecular clouds,” Aaron M. Geller, an astronomer at Northwestern University, told Space.com. The densest areas of those molecular clouds collapse into themselves to form stars. In some cases, the stars disperse after their creation, Geller said. “However, if there are enough stars formed close enough together, they may remain gravitationally bound and live as a star cluster.”

Source link