Massive Star Mystery
The ESA's Herschel Space Telescope, launched in 2009 and with a mirror nearly one-and-a-half times bigger than the Hubble's, might have given astronomers an explanation for a mystery of massive star formation. From this week's announcement regarding Herschel's observations of W3, a giant molecular cloud:
...during [massive star] formation, the radiation blasting away from these stars is so powerful that they should push away the very material they are feeding from. If this is the case, how can massive stars form at all?
Observations of W3 point toward a possible solution: in these very dense regions, there appears to be a continuous process by which the raw material is moved around, compressed and confined, under the influence of clusters of young, massive protostars.