protostar definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
in some cosmological theories, any of the millions of swirling clouds of dust and hydrogen gas that form within a protogalaxy and eventually evolve into thermonuclear stars
protostar - Science Definition
A celestial object made of a contracting cloud of interstellar medium (mostly hydrogen gas) that eventually becomes a main-sequence star. Disturbances in some region of interstellar medium can cause fluctuations of density through that region, and the denser areas, having more mass, begin to attract more and more of the medium through the force of gravity (a process known as accretion). Ever increasing densities of such protostar regions lead to ever higher temperatures within the accreting body, until the point is reached when thermal energy is sufficient to promote the fusion reactions typical of main-sequence stars. Less massive protostars may take hundreds of millions of years to evolve into stars; massive ones contract more quickly and may take only a few hundred thousand years.