National Nuclear Security Administration

NASA features LLNL star-formation simulations

January 29, 2016

You are here

NNSA Blog

These high performance computing (HPC) simulations of star formation account for a broad range of physical processes, including: gravity, supersonic turbulence, hydrodynamics, outflows, magnetic fields, chemistry and ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Image courtesy of Pak Shing Li/ University of California, Berkeley

High performance computing (HPC) simulations exploring star formation by Lawrence Livermore astrophysicist Richard Klein were among select research highlights featured by NASA at the recent supercomputing conference in Austin, Texas.

Klein’s “Simulating Star Formation: From Giant Molecular Clouds to Protostellar Clusters” presentation is now on NASA’s website.

The origin of star clusters remains one of astrophysics’ fundamental unsolved problems. Stellar cluster and massive star formation are at the center of the complex processes that shaped the universe as we know it today. Yet a clear understanding of the processes involved in star formation remains elusive.

Taking on such a problem requires complex simulations that must include a broad range of physical processes, including: gravity, supersonic turbulence, hydrodynamics, outflows, magnetic fields, chemistry and ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. But such simulations are very difficult to produce because of the high degree of non-linear coupling and feedback mechanisms among these processes, as well as the large dynamic range in time and spatial scales.

Read more about it.