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Scientists Stunned by Galaxy Cluster That Births 700 Stars a Year

Meet the galactic Kate Gosselin! Astronomers have discovered a galactic supermom that is birthing new stars a thousand times faster than known stellar nurseries. This galaxy at the center of the giant Phoenix cluster 5.7 billion light years away from us makes 700 stars each year.

The discovery has shocked scientists. Galaxies at the core of a cluster are typically “red and dead”—too hot to produce new stars due to the heating effects of their resident black holes. The Phoenix cluster galaxy is glowing baby blue and shooting out X-rays at record levels, both indicators of young star formation.

394162 02: The cluster of galaxies EMSS 1358+6245 about 4 billion light year away from Earth in the constellation Draco is shown in this Chandra image. When combined with Chandra’s X-ray spectrum, this image allowed scientists to determine that the mass of dark matter in the cluster is about 4 times that of normal matter. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

Photo by NASA/Getty Images

The answer may be as stunning as the discovery; we may be witnessing a previously unknown period of life in a galaxy, when it’s black hole has yet to heat things up—a universal eye blink lasting only a hundred million years. The theory is new—just like the discovery—but regardless, we just found a huge source of starlight!

Video by Paca Thomas.