Science On Tap: "How to Make Stars on a (super)Computer" Anna Rosen, PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz

May 31 @ 7:00pm

May 31, 7 PM
Anna Rosen, PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz
"How to Make Stars on a (super)Computer"

Massive stars, those with masses greater than 8 times that of our Sun, play an essential role in the Universe. Their explosive deaths produce most of the heavy elements, enriching the interstellar medium and future generations of stars. They are rare, yet the energy and momentum they inject into the surrounding gas with their intense luminosities dwarfs the contribution by their vastly more numerous low-mass cousins. This stellar feedback can limit stars’ masses and destroy their natal environments, potentially limiting star formation in galaxies. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how massive stars form. However, massive star forming regions are rare and highly obscured, making direct observation of their formation difficult. In light of these limitations, astronomers have turned to modeling the formation of massive stars with the use of numerical simulations. These stars form from the gravitational collapse of cold, turbulent, and dense molecular gas and such simulations must follow the gas on size scales that range across several orders of magnitude. In this talk, I will discuss how astronomers perform state-of-the-art large-scale simulations to study how massive stars form and influence their environments.