Pulsating dust cloud dynamics modeled

Sep 12, 2013

The birth of stars is an event that eludes intuitive understanding. It is the collapse of dense molecular clouds under their own weight that offers the best sites of star formation. Now, Pralay Kumar Karmakar from the Department of Physics at Tezpur University, Assam province, India, and his colleague have proposed a new model for investigating molecular cloud fluctuations at sites of star formation and thus are able to study their pulsational dynamics, in a paper published in the European Physical Journal D.

Dust molecular clouds are a type of astrophysical plasmas, which are composed of a of positively and negatively charged particles. Scientists have long known that these exhibit collective pulsating or wave-like behaviour. Both via spacecraft, satellites, and sophisticated imaging detection systems have confirmed it. What is more, many provide a simplified description of such observations. But the complex dynamics are still not clearly understood.

In particular, the pulsating dynamics of inhomogeneous molecular clouds that periodically undergo both self- due to the weight of the massive dust grains, and electrostatic expansion resulting from the interaction of of the same electric charge, are captivating scientists.

Karmakar and his Bhupen Borah designed a model for investigating the cloud fluctuations with charge-varying grains, as a function of weight and charge interaction (referred to as nonlinear gravito-electrostatic coupling). The principal factors they took into account include dust-charge fluctuations, relevant convective nonlinearities and all the complex collisional processes.

They then carried out a detailed shape analysis to characterise these clouds on the astrophysical scale. This approach helps to elucidate basic features of the collapse of clouds under their own weight, the formation and evolution of stars, galactic structures and other cluster-like astrophysical objects in diverse space and plasma environments.

Explore further: Short, sharp shocks let slip the stories of supernovae

More information: P. K. Karmakar and B. Borah (2013), Nonlinear Pulsational Eigenmodes of a Planar Collisional Dust Molecular Cloud with Grain-charge Fluctuation, European Physical Journal D, DOI: 10.1140/epjd/e2013-40165-7

Related Stories

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

Oct 09, 2012

(Phys.org)—ESA's Herschel space observatory has discovered enough water vapour to fill Earth's oceans more than 2000 times over, in a gas and dust cloud that is on the verge of collapsing into a new Sun-like ...

Orion's hidden fiery ribbon

May 15, 2013

(Phys.org) —This dramatic new image of cosmic clouds in the constellation of Orion reveals what seems to be a fiery ribbon in the sky. This orange glow represents faint light coming from grains of cold ...

Atacama Pathfinder Experiment: Setting the dark on fire

Jan 23, 2013

(Phys.org)—A new image from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile shows a beautiful view of clouds of cosmic dust in the region of Orion. While these dense interstellar clouds seem ...

APEX turns its eye to dark clouds in Taurus

Feb 15, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new image from the APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) telescope in Chile shows a sinuous filament of cosmic dust more than ten light-years long. In it, newborn stars are hidden, and dense ...

Recommended for you

Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed 'Nasty'

May 21, 2015

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is ...

Galaxy's snacking habits revealed

May 20, 2015

A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbours and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past.

Supernova ignition surprises scientists

May 20, 2015

Scientists have captured the early death throes of supernovae for the first time and found that the universe's benchmark explosions are much more varied than expected.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.