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Published:March 20th, 2013 15:43 EST

Astronomers Discover Some of the Youngest Stars Ever Seen by Man

By John Pustelnik


A team of astronomers have discovered stars that are in their earliest stages of development.

The protostars were discovered by the Herschel space observatory, which was launched into space in 2009.


Protostars are stars in their earliest phases of development.

Stars in this early phase of development are the least studied types of stars, due to their rarity.

Stars spend about 100,000 years in this phase. Depending on size, a star can burn from a few million years to hundreds of billions of years.

The thick gas and dust surrounding the stars made it difficult for astronomers to view the stars.

The Herschel space observatory was able to pick up infrared light that emitted from the stars, allowing astronomers to study them.

"Herschel has revealed the largest ensemble of such young stars in a single star-forming region," said Amelia Stutz, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. "With these results, we are getting closer to witnessing the moment when a star begins to form."

A total of 15 protostars were discovered by the Herschel space observatory, 11 of which were especially young.

"With these recent findings, we add an important missing photo to the family album of stellar development," said Glenn Wahlgren, Herschel Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters. "Herschel has allowed us to study stars in their infancy."

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