University of Heidelberg

Talk Details

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 3:15pm

Ian Bonnell (St-Andrews):

"Star Formation in Spiral Shocks and in the Galactic Centre"

Abstract. Star formation is the primary driver of the formation and evolution of galaxies.Understanding how star formation occurs on galactic scales, and its effects on the ISM is therefore a crucial aspect of most current astrophysical research. I will present recent work on investigating how star formation is initiated in such diverse locations as spiral arms in the Galaxy, local satellite galaxies and the Galactic centre. The primary aims of this work are to understand what processes determined the properties of star formation such as its efficiency and the origin of the initial mass function of stars. I will also present ongoing work on including the effects of feedback from star formation in order to construct a complete model of star formation. This requires the ability to follow the gas dynamics in the large scale galactic potential, the formation of giant molecular clouds due to a combination of spiral shocks and self gravity, the local collapse of sub-parsec regions to form individual stars and stellar clusters, and the effects of feedback from these stars onto the ISM. Finally, I will discuss star formation in the Galactic centre and how this is the only resolved population that shows an abnormal distribution of stellar masses.

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