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Explosions of supernovae rock the cradle of stars

Scientists from Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov and Tver State Technical University conducted a simulation of the processes of collision of a shock wave from a supernova explosion with a molecular gas, the most detailed so far. Such collisions lead to the formation of protostars, which at the moment are «ignited» extremely rarely in our Galaxy, for reasons not entirely clear. The relevant article is published in Computers & Fluids.
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It turned out that the formation of filaments and irregularities in the structure of clouds under the action of a shock wave from a supernova explosion (it is precisely these irregularities that create the possibility for the gas to collapse into protostars) depends mainly on gas compression in the area of the front of the shock wave. There are three phases of interaction between the shock wave and molecular clouds, according to the model. Vortex gas structures form behind the front of the shock wave during the first phase. During the second phase shock wave goes beyond these vortices, and then Richtmyer-Meshkov instability (RMI) arises, due to which the distribution of matter in the whole molecular cloud is broken, even in those parts through which the shock wave has not yet passed — namely at the outer boundaries. During the last, third phase, the filaments of matter, which were perturbed by the shock wave, reach those parts of the cloud where vortices have appeared due to the instability and then the filaments, when they fall into the most dense areas of the irregularities, further increase the density in these areas. It is there where protostars are formed.

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