Astronomers in Brazil have discovered a cluster of stars forming at the edge of the Milky , according to a release from the Royal Astronomical Society.

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This is unusual because it was believed that stars generally take form closer to the center of our spiral-shaped galaxy, rather than from its swirling, spiral arms, which are thousands of -years away. These two clusters of stars — named Camargo 438 and 439 — were seen in a cloud at the galaxy’s outskirts.

Denilso Camargo, an astronomer at the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, led a team that analyzed data from ’s orbiting Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observatory. They zeroed in on dense clumps of gas in so-called giant molecular clouds(GMCs) that are known to generate stars. GMCs are mainly located in the inner part of the galactic disc.

The new star clusters lie about 16,000 light-years away from the disk of the Milky Way galaxy. How did they form there? The scientists aren’t yet sure but Camargo theorizes that of two scenarios could have led to the stars’ formation.

In the first scenario, called the “chimney model,” supernovas could have flung the gas and dust that formed the cloud out of the Milky Way. Another explanation is the could have drifted in from outside the galaxy.

“Our work that the space around the Galaxy is a lot less empty that we ,” said Camargo. “The new clusters of stars are truly exotic.”

Camargo’s team published their results in the Monthly