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    Default Magnetic fields may regulate star formation



    Birth Control for Stars
    http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi...ull/2009/910/3

    By Phil Berardelli
    ScienceNOW Daily News
    10 September 2009

    Gravity sometimes needs a restraining hand. New findings show that the giant clouds of
    dust and gas that pervade the universe, out of which form all of the stars and other
    assorted celestial bodies, depend on magnetism to regulate their collapse. If confirmed,
    the study would resolve a long-standing mystery about the star-forming process.

    Astronomers have argued for decades about how stars condense out of the diffuse clouds of
    dust and gas called nebulas. In particular, they have wondered why the giant clouds, which
    can span thousands of light-years in diameter, don't just collapse completely into
    supergiant stars, crunched together by gravity's inexorable pull. Observations have shown
    that only a few percent of a given cloud's mass condenses into stars. So some other force
    must be at work that counters gravity. One camp has maintained that turbulence within the
    clouds plays a dominant role. Much like the wind slows the falling leaves to the ground,
    turbulence stirs up the dust and gas in the clouds just enough to prevent their complete
    collapse.

    Another group of scientists has a different take. It asserts that the movement of
    electrically charged atoms within the molecular clouds forms magnetic fields, which act as
    a repellent force against gravity's attraction. Just as Earth's magnetic field prevents
    particles in the solar wind from striking our planet, magnetism in the clouds regulates
    their gravitational collapse, explains astronomer and lead researcher Hua-bai Li of the
    Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    See: http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi...ull/2009/910/3

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    This is a pretty neat article and worth the read ...
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