Supersonic Turbulence
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Supersonic Turbulence

July 12, 2010
Using the largest simulation of supersonic turbulence to date, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), researchers have shown how fundamental laws of turbulent geophysical flows can also be extended to supersonic turbulence in the interstellar medium of galaxies. This image, stored and analyzed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD, shows the density field from one snapshot of the simulation, run on 4,096 processors for two weeks and resulting in 25 terabytes of data. The brightest regions in the image represent gas at the highest density, compressed by the action of a complex system of shocks in the turbulent flow. Dense filaments and cores, created in such a way by supersonic turbulent flows, are subject to massive gravitational collapse--and that leads to the birth of stars. The National Science Foundation is the primary funding source for the SDSC. [Image taken from the San Diego Supercomputer Center Multimedia Gallery.] (Date of Image: 2008)

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