How Puzzling Stars Formed near Galactic Black Hole

From Scientific American:

Star Researchers say they have figured out how a mysterious clutch of massive stars could have come into existence a few trillion miles from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This group of stars—about 100 of them in an elongated disk—has posed a challenge to theories of star formation, which predict that stars emerge when clouds of hydrogen molecules coalesce under their collective gravitational attraction.

The gravity around a supermassive black hole weighing millions of times more than the sun should have shredded such a cloud like paint dropped on an eggbeater before it got a chance to make stars. To address the mystery, researchers from the University of St. Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, both in Scotland, simulated the fate of a hydrogen cloud as massive as 10,000 suns that suddenly wafted near a black hole. They found that although much of the cloud would splatter [see image], shock waves and other turbulence would drain the inner 10 percent of angular momentum, causing it to take up orbit around the black hole and giving time for stars to form.

More here.