Ramon Rey-Raposo

Department: Astrophysics
Research Centre/Unit: Large Scale Formation

Project Summary

'High Resolution Simulations of Molecular Clouds' Molecular Clouds are the birthplace of stars and planetary systems. Therefore the study of the creation and evolution of molecular clouds is crucial to understand the star formation process. During the last years, the clouds have been thoroughly studied in terms of their emission, structure and kinematics, but aspects of their formation and evolution are still unclear. For example, which is the precise process that generates molecular hydrogen from atomic clouds? At which pace does the star formation happens? Once the molecular cloud is formed, is this process instantaneous, or does it take a few dynamical times to happen? What are the main effects that directly lead to the creation of a cloud? And what physical phenomena will cause their diffusion? During the last 30 years, many simulations have been done, to model galaxies and molecular clouds. However, the extensive dynamical range, from the tenths of kiloparsecs in a galaxy to the parsec size of star forming regions, makes it difficult to perform full scale simulations. Standard galactic models have been done up to a great precission, but not enough to resolve individual star forming clouds. I plan to simulate molecular clouds in detail, using the SPH code GADGET, to try to get a better understanding of the birth, evolution and destruction of the molecular clouds.

Supervisory Team

Clare Dobbs and Matthew Bate

Wider Research Interests

Molecular Clouds, Galactic Dynamics and Cosmology