Massive clouds of gas and dust, similar to the Monkey Head Nebula (or NGC 2174), are nurseries for stars. Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA
Clusters of stars across the vast reaches of time and space of the entire universe were all created the same way, researchers at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, have determined. Researchers Corey Howard, Ralph Pudritz and William Harris, authors of a paper published now in the journal Nature Astronomy, used highly-sophisticated computer simulations to re-create what happens inside gigantic clouds of concentrated gases known to give rise to clusters of stars that are bound together by gravity.
Pudritz and Harris, both professors of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, were Howard’s PhD thesis supervisors and guided his research. Howard recently completed post-doctoral research at the university.
The state-of-the-art simulations follow a cloud of interstellar gas 500 light-years in diameter, projecting 5 million years’ worth of evolution wrought by turbulence, gravity and feedback from intense radiation pressure produced by massive stars within forming clusters. The research shows how those forces create dense filaments that funnel gas into what ultimately become super-bright clusters of stars that can merge with other clusters to form vast globular clusters.
“Most stars in galaxies ...