New, extraordinarily detailed simulation of star formation in a giant molecular cloud

(ORDO NEWS) — Star formation is by far the most important process that determines the evolution of the universe.

During the life cycle of a star and then in the process of its death, all the chemical elements known in the Universe are formed, except for hydrogen and helium (formed during the Big Bang).

Planets and smaller celestial bodies form in systems of young stars, and the explosions of stars at the end of their life cycle, known as supernovae, lead to the formation of superdense bodies such as black holes, neutron stars or white dwarfs, and their surrounding nebulae.

Stars in the universe are formed, at least in the modern era, as a result of the collapse of massive gas clouds under the influence of gravity.

But in our Milky Way galaxy, this process is inefficient; only 1 percent of the available material turns into stars. Astronomers believe that one reason is that there is a delay in the development of the cores of forming stars as a result of the repulsive pressure of turbulent gas flows moving at supersonic speeds, as well as supernova explosions, winds or jets from stars of previous generations. In any case, this is how the picture looks for low-mass stars.

On the contrary, observations of young massive stars show that such stars form in places where turbulent flows prevent the fragmentation of material into small stars, and instead there is a gradual accumulation of star-forming material and the subsequent formation of larger luminaries.

In a new paper, Anna Rosen from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, together with colleagues developed the first simulation of a giant molecular cloud, which simulates the formation of individual stars and “feedback” from their side, expressed in jets, radiation, winds and supernova explosions.

This simulation recreates star formation in a cloud over a period of approximately 8 million years using approximately 160 million steps, sometimes as short as a day apart.

One of the important conclusions made by the authors as a result of the analysis of the simulation results was that protostar jets make the main contribution to the “feedback” from the stars, which slows down star formation, while supernova explosions occur too late on the scale of the star’s life cycle. to seriously influence the development of other stars in the “stellar cradle”.

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