• Question: how do stars form

    Asked by caseman to Lauren, Joseph, Eoin, Colm on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Lauren Mc Keown

      Lauren Mc Keown answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Stars form inside dense, cold regions of gas and dust called molecular clouds. The formation of a star occurs when dense regions of this gas core collapse under their own gravity. As the cores collapse, they form into clumps which eventually make up protostars or baby stars which are still forming 🙂 As the protostar forms, gas falls into its center and this loosely falling gas releases kinetic energy in the form of heat. Infall stops when the star starts nuclear fusion (creation of the elements) and releases a stellar wind. This whole process can last up to millions of years.

    • Photo: Eoin O Colgain

      Eoin O Colgain answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Gravity is the magic that makes it all happen. One just needs a large enough gas cloud and gravity will do the rest.

    • Photo: Joseph Roche

      Joseph Roche answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Gravity really is awesome. It is definitely my favourite fundamental force 🙂

      This image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 is one of the most famous images of new stars being born in clouds of dust and gas. It’s often called “The Pillars of Creation”: