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Researchers Corey Howard, Ralph Pudritz and William Harris, authors of a paper published June 25 in the journal Nature Astronomy, used highly-sophisticated computer simulations to re-create what happens inside gigantic clouds of concentrated gases known to give rise to clusters of stars that are bound together by gravity.
Pudritz and Harris, both professors of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, were Howard's PhD thesis supervisors and guided his research. Howard recently completed post-doctoral research at the university.
Simulations - Cloud - Gas - Years - Diameter
The state-of-the-art simulations follow a cloud of interstellar gas 500 light years in diameter, projecting 5 million years' worth of evolution wrought by turbulence, gravity and feedback from intense radiation pressure produced by massive stars within forming clusters.
The research shows how those forces create dense filaments that funnel gas into what ultimately become super-bright clusters of stars that can merge with other clusters to form vast globular clusters.
Stars - Galaxies - Members - Star - Clusters
"Most stars in galaxies form as members of star clusters within dense molecular clouds, so one of the most basic questions in astronomy is how do clusters that range from hundreds to millions of stars form under a wide variety of conditions," Pudritz says. "Our simulations were carefully designed to determine whether or not this a universal process."
The authors programmed data for such variables as gas pressure, space turbulence and radiation force into their simulation and let it run using resources that included SciNet, Canada's largest supercomputer centre.
Month - Program - Star - Clusters
After a month, the program turned out star clusters identical to...
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