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Mystery Space Energy Source

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A mysterious cloud of high-energy electrons envelopes a young cluster of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, astronomers announced Wednesday.

The cluster involves thousands of stars, all less than a million years old, packed into a region of space about 5 light-years across, with more stars probably forming as you read this. Such cramped parts of space are thought to be conducive to the production of hot gas, but not high-energy particles, astronomers said.

The particles, instead, are typically produced by exploding stars, or in the strong magnetic fields around neutron stars or black holes. There is no evidence for any of the above in this cluster, called RCW 38.

The new observations were made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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