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'Supermom' galaxy giving birth to stars found

india Updated: Aug 16, 2012 20:24 IST

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Scientists have discovered a cosmic 'supermom' galaxy that gives birth to about 740 new stars a year, far more than what ours does.

Astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-Ray telescope to spot this distant gigantic galaxy creating about 740 new stars a year. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy spawns just about one new star each year.

The Phoenix cluster is located 5.7 billion light years away in the center of at recently discovered cluster of galaxies that give the brightest X-ray glow astronomers have seen.

It is named not only for the constellation in which it is located, but also for its remarkable properties.

It is by far the biggest creation of stars that astronomers have seen for this type of massive galaxies that are in the center of clusters.

Other types of galaxies, such as colliding galaxies, can produce even more stars, astronomers said.

however, this is the size, type and age of galaxy that shouldn't be producing stars at such a rapid pace, said the authors of a study published in the journal 'Nature'.

"While galaxies at the center of most clusters may have been dormant for billions of years, the central galaxy in this cluster seems to have come back to life with a new burst of star formation," said Michael McDonald, said Michael McDonald of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

"The mythology of the Phoenix, a bird rising from the dead, is a great way to describe this revived object." said McDonald who is also the lead author of the study.

Because of that back-to-life situation, the team of 85 astronomers has nicknamed the galaxy cluster 'Phoenix', after the bird that rises from the ashes.

The galaxy that is producing the stars at a rate of two per day is in the center of the cluster and is the biggest and most prominent of many galaxies there.