Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC San Diego Researchers Advance Explanation for Star Formation

22.10.2013
Study uses computer simulations to provide physical explanation for Larson’s Laws

A newly published paper by three UC San Diego astrophysics researchers for the first time provides an explanation for the origin of three observed correlations between various properties of molecular clouds in the Milky Way galaxy known as Larson’s Laws.

The paper, called ‘A Supersonic Turbulence Origin of Larson’s Laws’, was published this month in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Great Britain’s pre-eminent astronomy and astrophysics journal. Larson’s Laws, named so by professors teaching the three principles from the seminal 1981 paper by Richard Larson, an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Yale, describes the observation-based relationships of the structure and supersonic internal motions of molecular clouds where stars form.

The analysis by the UC San Diego researchers is based on recent observational measurements and data from six simulations of the interstellar medium, including effects of self-gravity, turbulence, magnetic field, and multiphase thermodynamics. The supercomputer simulations support a turbulent interpretation of Larson’s relations, and the study concludes that there are not three independent Larson laws, but that all three correlations are due to the same underlying physics, i.e. the properties of supersonic turbulence.

Larson’s original paper, published in the same journal, still inspires new advances in the understanding of molecular cloud structure formation and star formation.

“After decades of inconclusive debate about the interpretation of the correlations among molecular cloud properties that I published in 1981, it’s gratifying to see that my original idea that they reflect a hierarchy of supersonic turbulent motions is well supported by these detailed new simulations showing that the debated complicating effects of gravity, magnetic fields, and multiphase structure do not fundamentally alter the basic picture of a turbulent cascade,” said Larson in response to the new findings by the UC San Diego researchers .

“This paper is essentially the culmination of seven years of research, aided by the use of large-scale supercomputer simulations conducted at SDSC and elsewhere,” said Alexei Kritsuk, a research physicist with UC San Diego’s Physics Department and Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) and lead author of the paper. “Molecular clouds are the birth sites for stars, so this paper relates also to the theory of star formation.”

The researcher team includes Michael Norman, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and a Distinguished Professor of physics at UC San Diego, and Christoph T. Lee, an undergraduate researcher with CASS. SDSC’s Trestles and Triton clusters, and now-decommissioned DataStar system, were used to generate the simulations, as well as the Kraken and Nautilus systems at the National Institute for Computational Science (NICS), at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“None of these new findings and insights would have been possible without the tremendous advances in supercomputer simulations that allow not only cosmologists but scientists in countless other domains an unprecedented level of resolution and data-processing speed to further their research,” said Norman, a globally recognized astrophysicist who has pioneered the use of advanced computational methods to explore the universe and its beginnings. “We believe that this paper paints the complete picture, drawing from earlier published works of ours as well as presenting new simulations that have not been published before.”

The research was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants AST-0808184, AST-0908740, AST-1109570, and XRAC allocation MCA07S014 under the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program.

Media Contact

Jan Zverina, 858-534-5111, jzverina@sdsc.edu
Secondary media contact:
Warren R. Froelich, 858 822-3622, froelich@sdsc.edu

Jan Zverina | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sdsc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>