Is molecular gas necessary for star formation?
Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Heidelberg, Germany
|The fact that star formation appears to take place only within molecular clouds can be easily explained if one assumes that the cooling provided by molecular gas is a necessary prerequisite to the onset of star formation. However, there is growing evidence that this explanation is incorrect, and that the efficient formation of molecular gas is simply a consequence of the same dynamical processes that also lead to the formation of stars. In this contribution, I will discuss a number of recent numerical simulations of cloud formation and evolution that follow the detailed chemistry and thermodynamics of the gas and that provide strong support for this picture. I will also discuss the consequences of this picture for our understanding of star formation in extreme environments.
P. Clark, ITA, Germany
R. Klessen, ITA, Germany