Many decades of intensive astronomical research has revealed a wealth of data on how stars form.
Star formation is the process by which dense regions within molecular clouds in interstellar space, sometimes referred to as â€śstellar nurseriesâ€ť or â€śstar-forming regionsâ€ť, collapse and form stars.â€ś
Although the broad aspects of how this happens are now clear, the fine details are not. A 2018 paper in Nature Astronomy drew attention to one particular aspect - the relationship between the mass of star-forming clouds of dust and gas and the eventual mass of the star itself.
Understanding the processes that determine the stellar initial mass function (IMF) is a critical unsolved problem, with profound implications for many areas of astrophysics.â€ť
Source : The unexpectedly large proportion of high-mass star-forming cores in a Galactic mini-starburst Nature Astronomy, volume 2, pages 478â€“482 (2018)
A series of new experiments are currently being conducted aboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with the aim of revealing more details.
The BBC's 'Sky at Night' programme covered star formation (9th Dec. 2018) and described the German Space Agency's DLR 'German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies'(GREAT) which is looking at the extreme lower end of the infra-red spectrum to find clues.
Professor Chris Lintott (BBC) â€śWe've known the basics for a long while, but the details are still very obscure. We don't understand them.â€ť
Karl Jacobs (DLR) â€śThat is absolutely right. So that is what we are looking for - and finding new things every day.â€ť
Source : Sky at Night, 9th Dec. 2018
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for older ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)
You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma
Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.
Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.