Study reveals the galaxy is under pressure to make stars

June 1, 2016
The motions of interstellar gas (foreground) seen in contrast to the optical view of the Orion molecular cloud (background). Credit: Stephen Gwyn, Canadian Astronomy Data Centre/National Research Council of Canada (CNW Group/National Research Council Canada)

A new study led by Canadian astronomers provides unprecedented insights into the birth of stars. Using observations from the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Hawaii-based James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in the United States, astronomers from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have discovered that star formation is more regulated by pressure from their surroundings than previously thought.

The birth of stars occurs deep within dense concentrations of interstellar gas and dust—known as cores— when their internal support structure becomes overwhelmed. These cores typically contain several times the mass of the Sun over a region about 10,000 times the size of the Solar System. Cores are deeply embedded within molecular gas clouds which are located throughout our Milky Way Galaxy.

Although dust within cores hides the earliest stages of from view of optical telescopes, observations with specialized radio telescopes can peer through the dust to study their dynamic nature. The Gould Belt Survey from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope identified the locations, sizes, and masses of cores across the Orion A cloud while the Green Bank Ammonia Survey detected the motion of gas molecules within the clouds.

"By combining this data, we've learned that most Orion cores are gravitationally bound, and so they will likely one day collapse to form stars," says Dr. Helen Kirk, the astronomer with the National Research Council who led the study. "Intriguingly, ambient material from the surrounding cloud appears to be squeezing the cores by an amount larger than the gravity of the cores themselves."

Earlier analyses of cores often ignored the ambient cloud pressure, but this new work suggests that it is a key ingredient in understanding the futures of cores. "This suggests that clouds within our Galaxy are themselves likely under pressure to form stars," Kirk concluded.

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wduckss
1 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2016
"Intriguingly, ambient material from the surrounding cloud appears to be squeezing the cores by an amount larger than the gravity of the cores themselves."

What is that supposed to mean, the collapse of the gas within the gas cloud? This would "explain" the existence of millions of bodies within the star system. The complete collapse, partial collapse and millions of collapse of gas within the cloud! Wow !
It must be understood that the cloud does not pressure the core using pressure, already the density creates attraction of matter within the volume of the cloud, not only in the center. It shows the birth of a series of stars within the nebula.
panurg3
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 01, 2016
to head off the true believers, i say that looks like a twisting Birkeland current intersecting the heart of the Orion nebula... and that this motion (detected by Doppler shifts?), this pressure induced star formation is the result of electric currents in Z-pinches. i know, i know, "looks like", etc, (insert criticisms here). part of their problem is the lack of mathematical models- but it may just be that plasmas (and the universe itself) are more like the life sciences, not amenable to a ToE on a T. Sure, mathematics are increasingly used in biology, but you can't really describe the essential thing with math. not to say the the cosmos itself is alive, but WhoTF knows? anyway the whole debate between Standard and Electric cosmology gets rather silly. the arguments go on about provability, but you can't prove or disprove "the electric universe"- because it's a paradigm (correct or incorrect), and paradigms more like big pictures; a set of assumptions, examined -
panurg3
1 / 5 (6) Jun 01, 2016
or not. and ALL the sciences rest upon the shoulders of assumption. you can, of course, reasonably prove or disprove bits of the picture.

while remaining agnostic, i find certain (electric) pictures compelling both logically and visually. but the EU is a nascent paradigm, perhaps. that's why i'm watching the detectors out in space, relaying a dizzying sensory overload- that's why i'm checking the news. i urge everyone to debunk as furiously as you can- i got another batch of popcorn ready.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2016
Intriguingly, ambient material from the surrounding cloud appears to be squeezing the cores by an amount larger than the gravity of the cores themselves."

The merger maniacs have it backwards, as usual. It is not the clouds spawing the stars, but the stars spawning the gas clouds. The growing star in an unstable phase ejects the new matter therefrom, thereby forming the surrounding gas cloud. The denser region is naturally closest to the star. Duh.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2016
Re: "... i got another batch of popcorn ready."

It's good to see that somebody is actually thinking about the debate.

Science was first popularized in the United States by what we today call "the Men of Science". These were generalists who copied the style of religious evangelists. The reason they were so effective was because they showed people that science could replace superstition as a tool for reasoning.

Then, several things changed ...

First, science became so specialized and quantified that there were no longer any generalists who could explain it.

Second, the dominant media formats changed, and this made aspirational science reporting a less desired commodity.

Third, the new theories which appeared -- like Relativity and Quantum Mechanics -- were littered with paradoxes and uncertainties. Thus, they could not be used like theories of the past to demonstrate science's explanatory powers.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2016
The fourth thing that changed was the science journalists replaced the Men of Science.

The science journalists changed everything. John C Burnham tells the story in his history of science journalism, How Superstition Won and Science Lost: Popularizing Science and Health in the United States.

They switched the reporting to fact-based reporting. Each new fact would be reported on since it was an indication of progress. And since it was progress, it was news.

The science journalists stopped teaching science in order to educate the public. If the information served no entertainment or news purpose, it was commonly left out.

With normal news, the Opinion column provided the context. But, when science journalists attempted to write Opinion pieces, they tended to just say more facts. Thus, the public came to think that the lack of a critical voice in science was normal.
Sheik_Yerbuti
Jun 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2016
The end result of these changes is that people stopped understanding science, in broad terms. The reason that superstition won is because this type of science journalism eliminates any ability for the public to use science as a tool for reasoning.

In other words, in the words of science historian John Burnham, science itself became a form of magic for the public.

It was done to sell newspapers.

The worldview which dominates all of our discussions of scientific controversies today is dominated by this need to sell newspapers, which had to transform as a reaction, in part, to the fact that science became littered with paradoxes and uncertainties.

Once a person understands the history of science journalism, everything changes.
matt_s
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 01, 2016
Know why that is Hannes? Because other scientists actually follow the scientific method and publish their ideas. They don't hand wave, they don't sit there and do quack-like-a-duck science. They actually do analysis, publish it, and take the feedback. You guys should be analyzing all the free to access data sets of NASA, publishing all kinds of papers. There's amateur astronomy groups publishing dozens of papers, and yet EU can't even get it together to publish a single one. Says a lot about the quality of the members. In fact it's pathetic. Get. Published. And not in some crap journal that accepts anything. If you do legitimate science, you can get it published in a respected journal.

Tl;dr Get it together and actually do some science, instead of claiming to have answers when you guys haven't done a thing.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2016
Re: "There's amateur astronomy groups publishing dozens of papers, and yet EU can't even get it together to publish a single one."

The EU is a derivative of a large collection of previously published work -- mostly in IEEE's Transactions on Plasma Science -- by Ralph Juergens, Anthony Peratt, Wal Thornhill, Don Scott, Halton Arp, Gerrit Verschuur, Hannes Alfven and Kristian Birkeland (among many others). The collection of relevant works is significant and spans numerous decades. I know because I have all of these papers. They fill a hard drive, and there are enough of them that I do not imagine I'll have the time in my lifetime to read all of them.

Your post simply indicates that you've not looked into the matter sufficient to even understand the scope of the work under discussion. Yet, this has not stopped you from taking the time to mislead others.
Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2016
What's the big hurry? It would be foolish of Electric Universe proponents to rush into premature declarations when data is still coming in on a daily/weekly basis. Although our tax money is paying for all of these great and wonderful telescopes and they seem to be working well, there is no need to expect immediate results that would benefit either the Standard Einsteinian Model OR EU, merely for the self-gratification of those who seem to be desperately waiting for news that would vindicate their acceptance of one theory over another.
It may take another thousand years and many more samples of observations before either theory could be classified as an exact condition of the Universe, or even this little quadrant where humans exist.
And yet, those who are vying for vindication of what they had been taught by their instructors appear to be in a 'race' to the finish line...as though it somehow matters which is more right. The Kentucky Derby of astrophysics?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (7) Jun 02, 2016
Got the paper from her site on the faculty pages. http://arxiv.org/...02.00707

The taglines from the conclusion:
If the most massive protostars tend to be born within more massive dense cores, our result implies that mass segregation in stellar clusters may in part be imprinted already in the dense gas from which they form. ... If dense core mass segregation holds over a wider variety of star-forming environments, these data provide a new observational test for simulations and theories of clustered star formation. It would also imply that clustering of stars can only be understood by studying the causes of (dense) substructure in molecular clouds.
So the conclusion to be drawn is that something pushed the gas together before the dense cores (which pretty much look like they're going to condense into stars) started to form, thus giving the highest density (and therefore the largest cores) at the middle of the developing star clusters.
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (7) Jun 02, 2016
[contd]
This is where they got the whole "squeezing" thing from.

From a recent article about this same region, we saw that other clouds in a very nearby region (Orion A, next to Orion B) are being compressed by fluctuating magnetic and gravity fields; so now we have not only strong evidence of such compression, but in a neighboring region we also have a mechanism for that compression. The article: http://phys.org/n...ion.html

It looks like we are about to find out a whole bunch about star formation.

I'd say the press reports from the National Research Council look a bit overambitious compared to the claims Ms. Kirk willing to make, but I also think this young lady has a really bright future in astronomy if you'll forgive the pun. And I think she's working right in the middle of a really hot area of research.
winthrom
3 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2016
There are several possible sources of "pressure". Electrostatic, van Der Waals, solar wind, , magnetism (see Da Schneib, above), etc. Electrostatic is the stuff that we see in toner powder and also lightning, van Der Waals is molecular surface chemistry. Solar wind would come from nearby stars in the same cluster that have already formed. Entangled in these forces, there is gravity. Once there is a gravity source of any consequence, mass "gravitates towards that source. The entire galaxy rotates, so Coriolis force causes rotation in the moving dust particles creating whirlpools where concentration diminishes (low pressure in the center via centrifugal force) and piles up dust mounds around itself.(high pressure around the periphery). As noted by several commentators above, the process is very complex, defying simple mathematical models.
cantdrive85
2.5 / 5 (8) Jun 04, 2016
"By combining this data, we've learned that most Orion cores are gravitationally bound, and so they will likely one day collapse to form stars," says Dr. Helen Kirk...."Intriguingly, ambient material from the surrounding cloud appears to be squeezing the cores by an amount larger than the gravity of the cores themselves."

This "cutting edge" "scientist" makes a claim and in the same breath contradicts herself. That's about right!
Earlier analyses of cores often ignored the ambient cloud pressure, but this new work suggests that it is a key ingredient in understanding the futures of cores.

Hmmm, and admission that astrophysicists ignore vital information/physics in the creation of their guesses. Where did this author get such nonsense? Astrophysicists know everything about everything and consider every possible aspect, at least that's what some of our fellow posters claim.
cantdrive85
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 04, 2016
It looks like we are about to find out a whole bunch about star formation.

Yep, and how little gravity has to do with it.

The helical morphology coupled with the "mysterious" pressure shows this is almost certainly a Birkeland current. The "mysterious" pressure is the Z-pinch effects caused by the flowing electric current and the resultant self pinching fields. Occasionally an instability will form along these Birkeland currents and sometimes they form plasmoids along the filaments. Those plasmoids are the stars which pervade the Universe. Precisely what is proposed by the EU.

BTW, MHD pseudoscience cannot explain these complex circuits. There are no frozen-in fields or phantom electric currents, just real Birkeland currents. That's why astrophysicists fail so miserably in explaining such phenomena, all they have to work with are "equations we know from experiments to be wrong".
winthrom
5 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2016
http://lasp.color...star.php is a good description of the classic view of star formation. One can add the factors described above in both the article and the comments (in whatever amount is determined to be present) and we find a very complex picture. Measurements of these factors (per the article above) are slowly compelling a model to form that describes the events we see. At present the picture is still muddy.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2016
Precisely what is proposed by the EU
prediction after the fact is not prediction

the problem with eu is that you can't predict anything... you can only make claims after the fact and state you predicted it

this is demonstrated on your own web-sites where you have historically made "predictions" but when they fall into abject failure against observations made then the "prediction" is immediately deleted and no one is the wiser (except the fanatics who follow)

this is the exact same tactic of the religious fanatic:
xtian- earth is 5K yrs old because "bible says"
boy scout- except this tree ...and it shows no "flood"
...

xtian- delete, delete, delete
the earth must be 6-8K years old because we don't know light speed is constant

repeat ad nauseum

of course, then there is the whole "evidence" angle
science = evidence
eu = claims

who wins?
science!
http://www.auburn...ion.html
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2016
"equations we know from experiments to be wrong"
except experiments prove you to be completely wrong, and likely illiterate as well
you've historically made this same claim about so many things ...
http://www.pppl.g...nnection

you also make other historical claims that were based upon your eu pseudoscience
http://phys.org/n...oon.html

http://phys.org/n...oon.html

http://phys.org/n...ume.html

http://phys.org/n...day.html

http://phys.org/n...ggs.html

all failures

so is it just you?
or is it your pseudoscience?

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