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Formation of starsThe official definition for star formation is the process by which dense parts of molecular clouds collapse

into a ball of plasma to form a star. We can only observe a lot of the early stages of a star’s formation through waves emitted due to the particle interference when trying to observe it optically. Galaxies such as the Milky Way contain what is known as Interstellar medium (or ISM), these consist of about 70% hydrogen (formed in the big bang and is the most abundant gas in the universe) with the rest of the gas being helium and traces of heavier elements that have been ejected out into the universe in the last stages of a stars lifetime. The higher density regions of ISM form dense clouds of gas and dust called nebulae, which I’m sure you’ve all heard of. Nebulae are also called molecular clouds due to the fact the hydrogen is found in its molecular H2 form. (Orion nebula slide) This is the Orion nebula which is the nearest one to our sun. It’s estimated to be about 24 light years across which is equivalent to 227057531341939.22 Kilometres and it is just South of Orion’s belt which you have probably seen in the sky then. To give you an idea of size that doesn’t involve a ridiculous number like that, a large nebulae on average is about 4 times as big as this and it’s estimated that the milky way contains 6,000 nebulae, and we can’t really come up with a fixed number because we are infinitely tiny but modern German super computers calculate that there are roughly 500 billion galaxies in the universe but our most accurate guess is definitely over 125 billion. In the nebulae the gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, pressure and heat is beyond that which we can imagine but providing the gravitational energy is twice that of the internal temperature energy and balanced with pressure pushing outwards the cloud will stay relatively stable. However when the cloud becomes big enough that the gas pressure pushing outwards can’t maintain what’s known as hydrostatic equilibrium, the cloud undergoes gravitational collapse. The product of this is usually an open cluster of stars- which is a few thousand stars held together through gravitational attraction that last around a few hundred million years or so. Another way stars are formed are through a trigger as usually the clouds don’t have enough energy to collapse on their own. For example if a nearby supernova sends matter flying into a nebulae at very high speeds or a galactic collision occurs this can give it the potential gravitational force to collapse. As a nebula or a molecular cloud breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until the fragments reach stellar mass. In each of these fragments, the collapsing gas radiates away the energy gained by the release of gravitational potential energy. As the density increases, the fragments become opaque and the star becomes less efficient at radiating their energy away, so it heats up. The fragments now condense into rotating spheres of gas that serve as stellar embryos. If a cloud continues to collapse converting gravitational energy into radiation it is called a protostar. This heats the cloud to temperatures of

.the middle reaches around 2000 Kelvin which dissociates the H2 Hydrogen molecules and is followed by the ionization of hydrogen and helium atoms. the core starts to fuse Hydrogen at the core which is how all the ‘heavier’ elements in the universe were created and the star begins the main phase of its life cycle.around 100 Kelvin and as it is collapsing the densest part. This continues until the gases pressure can support hydrostatic equilibrium again. Finally after some more gas and dust etc.