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UR #16: Star Cluster Evolution

This month’s undergraduate research post features a student who created N-body simulations of star clusters. Read on to find out what she learned about the clusters’ evolution!

Tipping the Spherical Cow: The Initial Conditions of Star Formation

Spherical cows have a long and storied history in physics, but does this type of crude approximation lead to realistic conclusions in the case of star formation? The combination of large- and small- scale simulations tests this idea.

Measuring Galaxy Star Formation

How well do the current methods of measuring the star formation rate of galaxies match then known star formation rate in simulations?

The History of the Galactic Halo

The number and luminosity distribution of white dwarfs stars can be used to help figure out the past history of the Galactic halo.

Bars: Star Mixologists

Can bars in a galaxy cause radial migrations of stars? The simulations say yes, but these observations suggest otherwise…

Crater Simulation

Iapetus: Growing Up in a Rough Neighborhood

Saturn’s moon Iapetus has been bombarded pretty heavily by debris from the outer Solar System. But it’s not TOO smashed up — its strange, 20-km-high, equatorial ridge is still standing. The authors of this paper simulate the bombardment of Iapetus to figure out how much mass could have collided with the moon without destroying the ridge.

Searching for Life via Exoplanet Smog

Today’s paper proposes a detection method for technologically advanced life that goes beyond the usual SETI signals: looking at exoplanet atmospheres not just for the presence of life in general, but for the chemical signatures of intelligent life.

Entering the Matrix: Exploring the formation history of a universe on your laptop

How Dylan Nelson produced amazing, interactive visualizations of the Illustris simulation

Massive Stars Don’t Make Good Neighbors

Massive stars emit energetic radiation and expel strong winds that can disrupt their natal environments. New simulations show that these effects are important in the evolution of stellar nurseries and can account for some of the observed low efficiency of star formation.

Can Planets Maintain Vega’s Debris Disks?

Vega’s system of debris disks can be explained by a series of planets that constantly transport material inwards towards the star.

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