A nebula that shines about 5,500 light-years from Earth could be going through a “baby boom,” according to a new study.
NGC 6334 (the Cat’s Paw Nebula) might be one of the most productive star-forming regions in the Milky Way. The nebula is home to tens of thousands of newly formed stars and plays host to about 200,000 suns’ worth of star-creating material.
“NGC 6334 is forming stars at a more rapid pace than Orion — so rapidly that it appears to be undergoing what might be called a burst of star formation,” the study’s lead author Sarah Willis of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and Iowa State University said in a statement. “It might resemble a ‘mini-starburst,’ similar to a scaled-down version of the spectacular bursts sometimes seen in other galaxies.”