Aaron T. Lee, Ph.D.
Astronomer and Educator



Turbulent Driving

Regions of star formation are subsonically turbulent. To simulate these turbulent clouds, we first stir the simulation’s gas on large scales, which creates a turbulent power spectrum consistent with observations of star-forming clouds. This example is a projected gas density movie of this driving phase.

Gravitational Collapse and Star Formation

Once turbulent initial conditions are created, we initiate gravity and allow the gas to gravitationally collapse. In regions unstable to collapse, protostars form (shown as circles). Three simulations are show in this movie. Each one has a different magnetic field strength, from strong to weak going from left to right. The magnetic field resists compression, and fewer stars form when magnetic fields are strong.

Quadruple star system

Regions that undergo collapse form protostellar systems. Some of these protostars are gravitationally bound and orbit each other. In this movie, three different views are shown of four particular protostars. Over time, they all spiral in toward one another and form a tight multi-star system.