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Contributed by Jill Ackerman on 04/16/2012
Please join us for a talk entitled: The Formation and Early Evolution of Super Star Clusters: The Biggest Star Formation Events in the Universe, with David Whelan (’05), University of Virginia
It is an interesting observational fact that most stars form in clusters of stars. This would seem to contradict common sense: anyone can look up on a clear night and see stars scattered across the sky in no discernible pattern. So we are left to determine how clusters, from which stars like our Sun formed, disintegrated. Observations of nearby galaxies, particularly those that are disturbed by encounters with other galaxies, show that at times of intense starburst, a galaxy can be populated with thousands of large clusters of stars. Yet galaxies that show evidence of past disruption are curiously absent of these clusters. What are these young clusters? Why do they seem to disappear after a time? To learn more about how stars form in clusters, I concentrate on the earliest stages of formation of what are called super star clusters (SSCs). These objects are the million-star monstrosities that we see in nearby disrupted galaxies. With the help of sophisticated numerical tools, I predict what these objects look like within the first few million years of their birth, and I suggest possible reasons why they eventually fall apart and disperse their stars throughout their host galaxy.
Tuesday, April 17th at 12:10 pm in CNS 204
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