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Star Formation

The Interstellar Medium, The Birth Of A Star, Other Methods Of Star Formation, Current Research On Star Formation

Star formation is the process by which a cold, dark cloud of gas and dust is transformed into a brilliant star with a surface temperature anywhere from 3,000-50,000K (4,900–90,000°F; 2,700–50,000°C). Many regions of our galaxy are filled with cold clouds of gas that begin to contract, under certain conditions, as a result of their own gravitational attraction. As one of these clouds contracts, it heats up and tends to become spherical. The heating, however, produces pressure in the gas that counteracts the contraction, and eventually the contraction may stop if the gravity and gas pressure balance one another. If the cloud has become hot enough to begin thermonuclear fusion reactions at its center, it can then sustain itself against its own gravity for a long time. Such a cloud is then called a star.


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Spectroscopy to Stoma (pl. stomata)