ASIAA Summer Students Program
ASIAA Summer Student Program 2024
July 1 - August 30

2024 Project Description

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STREAMS - Magneto-hydrodynamic simulations of massive star-forming clumps: linking multi-scale energetics and gas flows with fragmentation

Numerical Astrophyiscs
Star formation


Seamus Clarke, Ya-Wen Tang
Find out more about supervisors on ASIAA website

Task Description and Goals

The complexity of the interstellar medium (ISM) arises from multiple physical forces (e.g. gravity, turbulence, and magnetic fields) simultaneously interacting on multiple spatial scales. It is thought that the relative importance between gravity, turbulence and magnetic fields changes as one moves from the larger scale (i.e. molecular clouds, ~10 pc) to smaller scales (i.e. star-forming cores, <0.1 pc), and that this relative importance at a given scale has a profound impact on the fragmentation at smaller scales, thus altering star formation. However, due to the complexity of these interactions, the wide parameter space to explore, and the difficulty in quantifying fragmentation, the exact effect the relative importance has on star formation is not fully understood. This is especially true for massive clumps where high-mass stars form.

In this project, the student will use the magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) code GAMER to run simulations of convergent flows to self-consistently form massive clumps, and, using the high resolution of these simulations, study the fragmentation of these clumps from ~0.5 pc down to ~100 AU. This will be done by using a new statistical descriptor, the Alignment Parameter, to quantify clump fragmentation patterns and correlate it with the measured energetics at the clump scale. Furthermore, this project is part of the large program STREAMS (STar-forming Region Energetics Across Multiple Scales) which aims to measure the multi-scale relative importance of gravity, turbulence and magnetic fields across a sample of 23 massive clumps. As such, the results of this project will be compared to observations taken as part of STREAMS to better interpret the fragmentation, kinematic and polarisation signals seen in observations.

The student will learn the basics of star formation, the interstellar medium and numerical magneto-hydrodynamics, as well as gain experience in data analysis and visualisation using Python, and the use of the MHD code GAMER.

Required Background

Required background: English proficiency, a Physics/Astrophysics background, experience using Python and C++.

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