Right now, a galaxy 5.7 billion light years away from Earth is busy making so many star babies that the Associated Press has officially deemed it a 'cosmic supermom.'
This unnamed galaxy is speculated to be about 3 trillion times the size of our sun and nearly 6 billion years old! This might have to do with its ability to 'birth' up to 740 stars a year (the much nearer Milky Way produces only one a year). Below are some other things about what makes this particular galaxy so unique:
There's lots of very hot hydrogen gas between galaxies. When that gas cools to below zero, the gas can form stars, McDonald said. But only 10 percent of the gas in the universe becomes stars, Donahue said.
That's because the energy from black holes in the center of galaxies counteract the cooling. There's a constant "tussle between black holes and star formation," said Sir Martin Rees, a prominent astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge in England. He was not part of the study, but commented on it during a NASA teleconference Wednesday.
In this case, the black hole in the central galaxy seems to be unusually quiet compared to other supermassive black holes, Rees said. "So it's losing the tussle," he said.
As you can imagine, this rapid creation of stars has left many scientists baffled. However, experts speculate that the rapid star birthing probably won't continue very much longer:
"It's very extreme," said Harvard University astronomer Ryan Foley, co-author of the study. "It pushes the boundaries of what we understand."
But this massive burst of star birth is probably only temporary because there's only so much fuel and limits to how big a galaxy can get, Foley said.
"It could be just a very short-lived phase that every galaxy cluster has and we just got lucky here" to see it, Foley said.