Turbulence in interstellar gas clouds reveals multi-fractal structures

Astronomers describe the complex structure of the interstellar medium using a new mathematical method. The dispersion of interstellar turbulence in gas clouds before star formation unfolds in a cosmically small space.

Credit: University of Cologne

Turbulence in interstellar dust clouds must dissipate before a star can form through gravity. Until now it was thought that their structure could be described using a fractal structure, but researchers have found Turbulence in interstellar dust clouds must dissipate before a star can form through gravity. Until now it was thought that their structure could be described using a fractal structure, but researchers have found that it was not enough. The filamentary structure of a flux density map can be broken into smaller regions of interest, each area being described by multifractal structures which lead to different types of dynamics inside a single cloud. The results showcase that the dynamics of star formation clouds are localized and exhibit enhanced energy dissipation from inside rather than from space intermittencies.

Source (University of Cologne. “Turbulence in interstellar gas clouds reveals multi-fractal structures.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2021.)

Paper: Yahia, H., Schneider, N., Bontemps, S., Bonne, L., Attuel, G., Dib, S., Ossenkopf-Okada, V., Turiel, A., Zebadua, A., Elia, D. and Maji, S.K., 2021. Description of turbulent dynamics in the interstellar medium: multifractal-microcanonical analysis-I. Application to Herschel observations of the Musca filament. Astronomy & Astrophysics649, p.A33. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202039874