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A Star is Born - Thanks to Supersonic Turbulence


Using the largest simulation of supersonic turbulence to date, UC San Diego researchers have shown how fundamental laws of turbulent geophysical flows can also be extended to supersonic turbulence in the interstellar medium of galaxies. This image, stored and analyzed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, shows the density field from one snapshot of the simulation, run on 4,096 processors for two weeks and resulting in 25 terabytes of data. The brightest regions in the image represent gas at the highest density, compressed by the action of a complex system of shocks in the turbulent flow. Dense filaments and cores, created in such a way by supersonic turbulent flows, are subject to massive gravitational collapse - and that leads to the birth of stars.
Credit: Alexei Kritsuk, Michael Norman, Paolo Padoan, and Rick Wagner, UC San Diego
Source: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

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