Astrophysicists have performed supercomputer simulations of massive stars forming from the collapse of giant, turbulent molecular clouds to try to understand the processes involved in their formation. Why you ask? Figuring out the processes involved in massive star formation, will help astrophysicists in their quest to understand the origins of stars and galaxies in our Universe.
In this image, a simulation shows the gas filaments that formed in an infrared dark cloud 800 000 years after the region began gravitational collapse. The extent of the main filament is about 4,5 parsecs in length. In the highest density fragments in the filament (red), molecular cloud cores are developing and will collapse further until they form stars.
Image credit: Richard Klein, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Pak Shing Li, University of California, Berkeley; Tim Sandstrom, Nasa Ames Research Centre