Perseus molecular cloud is full of hot air

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 11:28

Washington: Researchers have discovered that Perseus molecular cloud is full of hot air.

Dr. Andrew Pon used complex computer simulations to calculate what happens when gas collides at supersonic speeds within star forming regions and was able to predict that such supersonic shocks should heat a small fraction (less than 1 per cent) of all molecular clouds to ten times the typical temperature (a frigid 10 Kelvin) of the clouds.
From such heated regions, Dr. Pon`s calculations predicted that the carbon monoxide molecule should radiate away most of a clouds turbulent energy.

Using the Herschel Space Observatory , Dr. Pon and his collaborators were able to observe a region within the nearby Perseus molecular cloud, in which thousands of young stars are forming.
These observations have confirmed the presence of a hot gas component within the Perseusmolecular cloud, potentially validating Dr. Pon`s theories for how the turbulent energy of a star-forming region escapes. Further observations of the carbon monoxide lines identified by Dr. Pon, using telescopes like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, hold the potential to unlock further secrets about the important role that turbulence plays in the star formation process.


First Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 11:28

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