Stellar Birth

There are relationships between pressure, temperature, and volume in a gas like interstellar medium:

Image of the equation PV squared / T = k. This relationship shows that as the pressure (P) increases, the temperature (T) increases and the volume decreases (V).

Where:

  • P is the pressure
  • V is the volume
  • T is the temperature in Kelvin
  • k is the constant

This relationship shows that as the pressure (P) increases, the temperature (T) increases and the volume decreases (V).

As the pressure, density, and temperature increases, no thermal (heat) energy can easily escape. The rising pressure and density leads to the formation of a Protostar, where the core is not yet undergoing fusion. The star ‘turns on’ – a star is born – when the protostar’s core temperature reaches 10,000,000 K; fusion begins as the proton-proton cycle.

This image is of The Eagle Nebula, M16. Often called the fingers or creation, the Eagle Nebula are great towers of gas and dust. Within the nebula, stars are forming, seen as red objects within the nebula.

Image of The Eagle Nebula, M16, a high tower of gas and dust, often called fingers. Red objects within the nebula shows stars forming.
Public Domain | Image courtesy of NASA.