I saw an interesting colloquium talk today at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, given by Prof. Jonathan Tan about formation of massive stars.
Many details about the formation process for massive stars remain unclear, and Prof. Tan described that the stars may either form through the merger of many small, low-mass stellar cores or by direct accretion of massive quantities of gas.
And big questions about these processes remain. For example, what spurs the initial collapse of a gas cloud into star? How exactly is the mass accreted, and what forces dominate that accretion? How long do all these processes take?
Prof. Tan described observations of clumps of gas and dust in the galaxy, including observations from the world’s largest radio telescope, the ALMA array, and how these observations may provide constraints on the star formation processes.