Star creation is glorious.
But here on Earth, we only see snapshots in time of far-off stellar nurseries (through telescopes). To visualize star formation over the course of tens of millions of years, astrophysicists used advanced computing to simulate a massive cloud of dust and gas — the place where stars are born.
The great gaseous cloud, floating in a virtual galaxy, evolves, collapses, and gradually creates stars as energetic gases swirl through the cloud. (The stars are the bright white dots.)
The goal is to use this simulation, aptly named “STARFORGE,” to understand how stars form. That leads to everything else.
“If we can understand star formation, then we can understand galaxy formation. And by understanding galaxy formation, we can understand more about what the universe is made of,” Michael Grudić, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University, said in a statement. “Understanding where we come from and how we’re situated in the universe ultimately hinges on understanding the origins of stars.”