TUNA Lunch Talk:

Fabian Heitsch

University of Michigan

Flows, Filaments & Fragmentation:
Towards Initial Conditions of Star Formation

May 15

12:10PM, Room 230, NRAO, Edgemont Road


The structural richness of molecular clouds and their observed linewidths indicate that they are highly dynamical. Observations suggest (a) that local star formation in such clouds is generally "rapid", i.e. it happens within a few (1-3) free-fall times, and (b) that the parent molecular clouds are short-lived. Numerical models have helped to identify turbulent fragmentation as one of the main agents for rapid star formation. However, turbulence often has been claimed to lend support to the parent molecular cloud, rendering star formation seemingly "slow". A solution to this conundrum requires understanding the initial conditions of star formation in a broader frame, i.e. a closer look at the details of molecular cloud formation. A new series of numerical experiments is beginning to bridge the gap between molecular cloud and star formation. I will discuss these experiments, their limitations and their observable predictions.