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MAGnetic fIeld and Kinematic coupling for massive STAR formation

Project description

New research sheds light on how massive stars form

Circumstellar discs are an essential ingredient in the formation of low-mass stars just like our Sun. This process is not necessarily the same during the formation of more massive stars – about eight solar masses greater. The EU-funded Magik Star project will further investigate this long-standing problem for astrophysicists. Building on recent successful research linking colliding flows with the formation of high-mass stars, researchers will combine these research outcomes with magnetic field studies, which have also proved important in the star formation process. Numerical work will be complemented by experimental observations in the ALMA radio telescope. Results will provide further details about massive star formation, which until now has been scarce as these stars are rare.


Star formation is a fundamental process in astrophysics, which has been studied for decades. As of now, most of our knowledge is concentrated on the formation of stars of a few solar masses. If galaxies' total stellar mass is dominated by low-mass stars, their energy budget is exclusively controlled by the enormous luminosity and powerful feedback of massive stars (M > 8 Msun). Despite their importance, the mechanisms leading to the formation of high-mass stars remain a mystery in many aspects. From the theoretical point of view, low-mass star formation models are not directly transposable as they do not provide accretion rates in line with what is necessary for high-mass star formation. From the observational point of view, until the recent rise of large interferometers, little was known about the formation of massive stars due to their scarcity, and remoteness. Through my work with interferometers, I have proved that very dynamical processes (colliding flows) are at play in high-mass star-forming regions (HMSFR). On the other hand, recent studies have shown that magnetic fields are a key factor in the regulation of star-formation. I am convinced that the dynamical features observed in HMSFR coupled with the action of the magnetic fields could explain for the formation of high-mass stars. For this two-year project, I plan on studying the coupling of gas dynamics with magnetic fields. For this purpose, I present an innovative project that will study this coupling simultaneously from observational and numerical inquiries. I will use today's best instrument in radio-astronomy, ALMA, to trace both the kinematics of gas and the magnetic field morphology. This observational part relies on data that I have already acquired. For the numerical part, I will participate in the development of dedicated magneto-hydro-dynamical simulations together with P. Hennebelle to understand the physical processes that underlie the observational features.


Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
75015 PARIS 15

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 184 707,84