Simulating interstellar bubbles using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (astronomy)
When a massive star forms inside a giant molecular cloud, it has a violent effect on its surroundings. The nearby gas is photo-ionised to produce a hot HII region, which expands sweeping up the surrounding gas. There is also a force on the gas due to radiation pressure; then the star starts to blow a powerful stellar wind; and finally it explodes as a supernova.
These outward forces have two important effects. First, some of the surrounding gas is compressed so strongly that it becomes gravitationally unstable and collapses to form a new generation of stars. Second, the hot gas eventually bursts out and the remains of the cloud are dispersed into the surrounding interstellar medium. The aim will be to simulate these processes, using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics, and hence to determine the statistical properties of the stars that form in the compressed gas (their masses, spatial distribution and relation to the residual gas) and the energetics of the gas that is dispersed into the surrounding interstellar medium. The simulated gas clouds and stars will then be compared with observations. The student will become expert in interstellar gas dynamics and
the associated chemical and radiative processes, triggered star formation, and numerical hydrodynamics.
This project is available to students applying for funded PhD studentships and may be altered or withdrawn.
Studentships will be awarded to successful applicants from all applications received. Applicants must satisfy RCUK residency rules for the full studentship.
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FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50
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