Offner research will shed light on the processes inside the star forming regions, like 30 Golden Fish, shown in the Hubble Space Telescope image
A new study by Stella Offner (associate professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin) indicates that magnetic waves are an important factor controlling the process of star formation in giant clouds creating new stars. Her conclusions will allow to understand the processes affecting the stellar characteristics, as well as planetary formations and the possible presence of life.
Offner used a supercomputer to create models of a multitude of processes inside a cloud where stars appear. She wanted to understand which processes lead to similar effects. Clouds are cruel places with extreme environments and all kinds of physics, carried out simultaneously (gravity, turbulence, radiation, stellar winds, etc.). But why is the action so cruel?
Some astronomers believe that the whole thing is in a gravitational collapse, while others throw the blame on turbulence or star feedback. Offner wanted to test these theories and study how stars form their own birth environment. But for this you can not do without computer models. Comparing the models of clouds with gravity, magnetic fields and stars, the scientist noticed additional movements.
Her models showed that stellar winds in contact with a cloudy magnetic field create energy and affect gas at much greater distances than previously thought. It turns out that the waves are ahead of the wind and lead to certain movements. These are important conclusions for ideas about feedback (the influence of the newborn star on the environment) and gravity on the scale of solar systems and galaxies.
Magnetic waves from a young star
Offner plans to study this process on a large scale, both in time and space. In the current study, the focus was on one area in the stellar clouds. In the future, she intends to investigate the influence of magnetic fields and feedback on a scale larger than a single cloud.