This image from ALMA shows two main cores as imaged by emission from the molecular ion N2D+ (two nitrogen and one deuterium atom). The core on the right is particularly bright and rounded, suggesting it is self-gravitating and poised to form a massive, single star – a very rare occurrence in star formation. The other core appears more distorted and fragmented, potentially leading to the formation of multiple lower-mass stars. This fragmentation is a normal process in star-forming clouds. (Credit: Bill Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

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Starless Cloud Cores Reveal Why Some Stars Are Bigger Than Others

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