molecular cloud


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Related to molecular cloud: molecular gas

molecular cloud

[mə′lek·yə·lər ′klau̇d]
(astronomy)
A dense cloud of interstellar gas in which molecules have formed in appreciable abundance.
References in periodicals archive ?
Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Yale, Richard Larson's original paper still inspires new advances in the understanding of molecular cloud structure formation and star formation.
A large hot molecular cloud around a very young star was discovered by ALMA.
Astronomers long had investigated the stellar nursery in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a vast collection of star-forming clouds, but had not seen the newly identified protostars until Herschel observed the region.
To better understand the connection between molecular clouds and star formation, the team compared their molecular cloud maps to maps of infrared radiation, which reveal where young stars are heating cosmic dust.
Yet brown dwarfs are thought to form in the same way that stars are born, from the gravitational collapse of a molecular cloud of gas.
Two processes often suggested to trigger bursts of star formation are blast waves from a nearby supernova explosion, or molecular cloud collisions when galaxies smash together.
They analyzed the Spitzer infrared map of the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023) that hosts both the extreme environment of a region close to a star, as well as the more shielded, benign environment of a cold molecular cloud.
Astronomers think L1448-IRS2E is in between the prestellar phase, when a particularly dense region of a molecular cloud first begins to clump together, and the protostar phase, when gravity has pulled enough material together to form a dense, hot core out of the surrounding envelope.
When that radiation passes through the dust in a molecular cloud or surrounding a dying star in the Milky Way, organic molecules absorb some of the emissions and release that radiation at different wavelengths.
It sits just to the south of star Alnitak, the easternmost of Orion's famous three-star belt, and is part of the vast Orion Molecular Cloud complex.
Some star-forming regions, such as the Milky Way's Taurus-Auriga molecular cloud, contain only low-mass stars, he notes.
W3 is a giant molecular cloud containing an enormous stellar nursery, some 6,200 light-years away in the Perseus Arm, one of our Milky Way Galaxy's main spiral arms.

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