EPoS Contribution
EPoS Contribution
Ready-to-Eat?: What Early "Taste-Tests" Say about Modern Simulations of Star Formation

Alyssa Goodman
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA
At the first EPoS meeting, there were many heated debates about whether or not particular simulations of "star formation" matched "observations". It became clear to me, and to others present, that much of the heat in the debates stemmed from a lack of clarity about exactly which part(s) of the star formation process a simulation was designed to study, and to which observations it should be most sensibly compared. It was also apparent that some "simulations" are meant only as numerical experiments, and are not designed to ever "match" the real Universe. In small group discussions at that meeting in Ringberg, a plan was hatched that has now spawned a community of people making detailed, relevant, observation-simulation comparisons via a collaborative web site called Star-Formation Taste Tests.
The site's primary function is to host information contributed by community members about star formation simulations, and about tools for comparing them with each other and with data. (Note that the Computational Astrophysics Data Analysis Center (CADAC; http://cadac.sdsc.edu/) hosts data files for many of the simulations being used in the Taste Tests.) Taste tests seek to taste theoretical recipes in observer's space, which is the only place where we know what things should taste like. So tasting tools include radiative transfer, synthetic observatory, and other related codes.

The talk will present ready-to-eat results, focusing on: 1) the role of gravity in turbulence simulations; 2) the effects of line-of-sight temperature variations on thermal dust emission and its interpretation; and 3) prevalent ambiguities in 3D geometry due to plane-of-the-sky projection effects. I will conclude by laying out a small set of hunger-inducing challenges where we might most effectively focus some very specific Taste Testing efforts in the near future.