College of Engineering

Physics Thesis Defense of Peter Jumper

Date(s): 12/3/2012 2:00 PM - 12/3/20123:00 PM
Location: Seng 102
Contact: Robert Fisher 508-999-8353

Title: Determining Stellar Multiplicity Criteria at the Molecular Cloud Core Scale from Simulations of Supersonic, Self Gravitating Isothermal Turbulence


Star formation occurs from the collapse of overdense, self-gravitating regions of giant molecular clouds called cores. It is thought that collapsing cores may develop nonlinear gravitational instabilities that lead to their fragmentation into two or more smaller collapsing regions, each of which may form a star. Many binary systems are thought to originate through this mechanism, which is known as core fragmentation. However, the conditions under which core fragmentation occur are poorly understood. In this work, I investigate the conditions necessary for a star-forming core to fragment and produce a binary system instead of a single star. While previous efforts to determine these criteria worked with highly idealized models, I analyze state-of-the-art simulations of a turbulent star forming region produced with the ORION code. I use a dendrogram algorithm to identify the cores and hierarchical structures. By contrasting the properties of cores that form binary systems to those that form single stars, I aim to derive predictive criteria for binary formation.

Contact Info: