Stella Offner

Hubble Fellow, Yale

"Through the Looking Glass: Matching Observational Diagnostics with Simulations of Star Formation"

Forming stars are difficult to observe directly because they are deeply embedded in dust and gas. To better understand the star formation process and explore key physics, investigators perform large-scale, physically detailed numerical simulations. However, many different simulations that include many different inputs can reproduce a fundamental observational result: the initial mass function of stars. In this talk, I will discuss how I perform and post-process simulations to compare directly with observational metrics such as gas linewidths and protostellar kinematics. I will reflect on what this implies about current simulations and about the nature of star formation.