Star Formation

The stellar maternities are areas of the galaxy where it accumulates large amounts of gas and dust that eventually originate new stars: molecular clouds. These clouds contain molecular hydrogen (90%), helium (9%) and traces of other more complex elements mixed with tiny grains of dust. The dust consists mainly of particles with cores of silicates or graphite with sizes of several microns. These grains absorb optical light very efficiently turning them into very dark areas, which are studied by using infrared or radio radiation.

The regions of star formation range from small molecular condensation which can form only low-mass stars to large molecular clouds where star clusters are formed covering the entire mass range. The size of a star is vital to determine its future development. The high mass stars are responsible for the ultraviolet radiation from a galaxy ionizing the environment where they are born, producing large nebula that are sometimes seen in visible light as the Great Nebula of Orion. These stars live only a few million of years, ending their lives in explosions called supernova. The low-mass stars, evolve more slowly, for example, the Sun is about 5000 million years of life and has half of it ahead.

The process of star formation, from a cloud of gas to a group of stars, we study mainly through radio astronomy techniques, with which we seek to understand the delicate balance between the force of gravity, and elements such as internal pressure, magnetic fields and turbulence that oppose it.

Main researcher: Guido Garay

Associated researchers: Leonardo Bronfman and Diego Mardones

 

 

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