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PASADENA, CALIF. — A massive, tranquil object found lurking in a dark cloud in our galaxy could be about to transform into a massive star or stars, giving astronomers their first glimpse at such a region on the cusp of stellar birth.
The cloud, located near the Aquila rift in the galactic plane 23,000 light-years away, has a mass 120 times that of the sun, but it is all compressed into a volume smaller than the Oort cloud of comets orbiting our solar system, astronomers said here today at the 214th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
The temperature of the cloud is less than