University of Hertfordshire

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Physical Processes in Star Formation

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  • Philipp Girichidis
  • Stella S. R. Offner
  • Alexei G. Kritsuk
  • Ralf S. Klessen
  • Patrick Hennebelle
  • J. M. Diederik Kruijssen
  • Martin G. H. Krause
  • Simon C. O. Glover
  • Marco Padovani
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Original languageEnglish
Article number68
Number of pages67
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


Star formation is a complex multi-scale phenomenon that is of significant importance for astrophysics in general. Stars and star formation are key pillars in observational astronomy from local star forming regions in the Milky Way up to high-redshift galaxies. From a theoretical perspective, star formation and feedback processes (radiation, winds, and supernovae) play a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the physical processes at work, both individually and of their interactions. In this review we will give an overview of the main processes that are important for the understanding of star formation. We start with an observationally motivated view on star formation from a global perspective and outline the general paradigm of the life-cycle of molecular clouds, in which star formation is the key process to close the cycle. After that we focus on the thermal and chemical aspects in star forming regions, discuss turbulence and magnetic fields as well as gravitational forces. Finally, we review the most important stellar feedback mechanisms.


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