In today’s “astrophysical classic”, we delve into the seminal paper behind the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation, the empirical correlation between the star formation rate and gas density.
Douglas Adams’ fictional Ford Prefect famously warned us of eddies in the spacetime continuum. Has the IBEX spacecraft now found evidence that they really exist?
There’s a strange sickle-shaped object in the Carina Nebula. The authors of this paper used observations at several different wavelengths to investigate the nature of this intriguing nebula, leading to some interesting discoveries and even more questions.
It’s big, it’s active, and it’s only 20 million lightyears away– it is the Whirlpool galaxy, and astronomers are getting a brand new view. Using the Plateau de Bure interferometer, this paper examines the gas in this nearby grand-design spiral galaxy on arcsecond scales, resolving for the first time its individual molecular clouds. What does this tell us about star formation in this galaxy? Stay tuned!
Unlike its candy bar namesake, the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is not actually a very pleasant place to be. There’s a supermassive central black hole to deal with, intense radiation from a population of massive stars, and hot clouds of molecular gas. In this paper, the authors use observations of three molecular spectral lines to measure the temperatures of these gas clouds in the center of the Galaxy, and find that the processes heating the clouds may not be what you expect!
There is a long standing debate on whether the X-factor, the conversion factor between molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide in molecular clouds, is constant in our Galaxy. This is a very important assumption we usually make when studying star formation! In this post, we explore state-of-the-art simulations by Narayanan & Hopkins that attempt to settle this debate.
A Fermi/LAT study of the ISM using gamma rays finds evidence for missing gas and variations in the CO-to-molecular gas conversion factor.