Fig10_6 The collapse of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust

Fig10_6 The collapse of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust

Fig. 10.6 . The collapse of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust (left), compresses the cloud and heats it (right). When the cloud shrinks, gravitational potential energy is converted into heat as the gas particles fall inward and collide with each other. This also produces radiation that can carry off some of the energy. The velocities of the gas atoms are denoted by arrows that point in the direction of atomic motion and have lengths that increase with the speed of motion. Higher speeds occur in the compressed cloud, where the gas atoms move faster and in all directions.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University