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Astrophysics Colloquium

ISM Dynamics and Star Formation
Presented by Ralf Klessen
Heidelberg University

Monday, April 20, 2015
12:00 noon in 169-336

Abstract
Stars form by gravitational collapse in dense molecular clouds as parts of the complex multi-phase interstellar medium. The process of stellar birth is controlled by the intricate interplay between the self-gravity of the star-forming gas and various opposing agents, such as supersonic turbulence, magnetic fields, radiation pressure, and gas pressure. Turbulence plays a dual role. On global scales it provides support, while at the same time it can promote local collapse. This process is modified by the thermodynamic response of the gas, which is determined by the balance between various heating and cooling processes, which in turn depend on the chemical composition of the material. I will review the current status of modeling star formation in molecular clouds and discuss a few examples of recent progress. I will address the question of galactic-scale star formation relations and argue that there may be a large reservoir of CO-dark H2 gas in disk galaxies such as our Milky Way.

JPL Contact: Harold Yorke (4-5515)


SVCP Astrophysics


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