Star formation in galaxies is a tug-of-war between opposing forces. Clouds of gas collapse, feeding fledgling stars. These can, in turn, prevent new stars from forming by blowing away the nurturing gas with their stellar winds. Star clusters are thus expected to lie at the centre of gas voids.
Yet in a nearby dwarf galaxy called IC 2574 there is little correlation between the locations of stars and observed gas voids, according to observations made with the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, Arizona, by Anna Pasquali of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and her colleagues. The energy balances between the expanding gas voids are consistent with recent bouts of star formation, suggesting that this tug-of-war is not well understood.