Newly-formed stars observed, dark matter mapped


From the European homepage of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope:

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows N90, one of the star-forming regions in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The rich populations of infant stars found here enable astronomers to examine star forming processes in an environment that is very different from that in our own Milky Way.


This map of dark matter distribution, which covers a region of the universe containing half a million galaxies, is described in advance online publication in Nature:

We find a loose network of filaments, growing over time, which intersect in massive structures at the locations of clusters of galaxies. Our results are consistent with predictions of gravitationally induced structure formation, in which the initial, smooth distribution of dark matter collapses into filaments then into clusters, forming a gravitational scaffold into which gas can accumulate, and stars can be built.


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