The Care and Feeding of Star Forming Regions
Erik Rosolowsky (University of Alberta)
October 04, 2016
Abstract: In the local Universe, all stars form in clouds of molecular gas. On the largest scales in galaxies, the ensemble of molecular clouds produces a simple star formation law: more molecular gas is linearly correlated with more star formation. This star formation law must emerge from behaviour of groups of individual molecular clouds. In this talk, I will present recent observations of molecular clouds and star forming regions in our Galaxy. Using a suite of novel analysis approaches, we are able to untangle maps of molecular gas and match them to the regions of star formation. This analysis finds good evidence that significant mass flows are essential for feeding star forming regions across the Galactic disk. Additionally, higher mass molecular clouds show evidence for increased rates of star formation, suggesting again these clouds are fed from their environment over their lifetime. The large apparent scatter in the efficiency of the star formation process can be attributed in part to viewing the effects of this mass accretion over time.