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Molecular Clouds All the Way Down

11 May 2021, 16:00 UTC
Molecular Clouds All the Way Down
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: The Single-Cloud Star Formation Relation
Authors: Riwaj Pokhrel et al.
First Author’s Institution: University of Toledo
Status: Published in ApJL
Gas to Stars
A Hubble view of a molecular cloud, roughly two light-years long, that has broken off of the Carina Nebula. [NASA/ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley)/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)]Each of the many hundreds of stars we can see with our naked eye, or the many thousands we can see with the aid of telescopes, has their own special story of how they came to be. Now self-gravitating balls of gas, these stars in the night sky began as clumps in dense molecular clouds. Once these clumps become large enough, they gravitationally collapse and form stars. In our own galaxy, the Milky Way, we can study this process directly and use the observations to infer much about its workings in more distant galaxies.
Since we know that dense ...

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