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Magnetism drives star birth

Nature volume 538, page 8 (06 October 2016) | Download Citation

Magnetic fields regulate how stars are born from massive clouds of interstellar gas.

A team led by Francesco Fontani at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Florence, Italy, used high-resolution data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in northern Chile to create detailed maps of a particular gas cloud. They found that the gas collapsed under the force of gravity and fragmented, forming a string of clumps that aligned themselves with the magnetic field. The clumps will eventually form the cores of future stars.

The study's findings confirm theoretical predictions that magnetic fields play a major part in where proto-stars form.

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