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Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...
is a generic term to describe a region of space with an abnormally high rate of star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...
formation. It is reserved for truly unusual objects.
For example, a very young open cluster
An open cluster is a group of up to a few thousand stars that were formed from the same giant molecular cloud and have roughly the same age. More than 1,100 open clusters have been discovered within the Milky Way Galaxy, and many more are thought to exist...
can have fairly high star formation rates in its core, but this is an ordinary condition for this object. However, an entire galaxy experiencing the same star formation rate can be described as "starburst".
Work presented in 2002 by Antony Stark and Chris Martin mapping the gas density in a 400 light year region around the Milky Way's galactic center has revealed an accumulating ring with a mass several million times that of the Sun and near the critical density for star formation. They predict that in approximately 200 million years there will be an episode of starburst in the galactic center, with many stars forming rapidly and undergoing supernovae at a hundred times the current rate. The starburst may also be accompanied by the formation of galactic jets as matter falls into the central black hole. It is thought that the Milky Way undergoes a starburst of this sort every 500 million years.