case western reserve university



Hunting for the key parameters of star formation

Adrianne Slyz (Oxford)

As a first step to a more complete understanding of star formation in the interstellar medium (ISM), we have performed hydrodynamical simulations of a kilo-parsec scale, periodic, highly supersonic and "turbulent" three-dimensional flow. Using simple but physically motivated recipes for identifying star forming regions, we convert gas into stars which we follow self-consistently as they impact their surroundings through supernovae and stellar winds. We investigate how various processes (turbulence, radiative cooling, self-gravity, and supernovae feedback) structure the ISM, determine its energetics, and consequently affect its star formation rate (SFR). We find that we can parameterize the SFR by three quantities: the porosity, gas velocity dispersion, and gas density. In addition we find that algorithms that use a gas density criterion to determine sites of supernovae explosions give dramatically different results from those which self-consistently determine supernovae events from the true locations of star particles.