Gravitational Collapse

The source of the energy for star formation is gravitational collapse - this collapse must provide enough energy to heat the gas of the protostar to the ignition point of hydrogen fusion, some 15 million Kelvins. Knowledge of the mass and distribution of the gas cloud permits some fairly detailed modeling, because half of the energy from gravitational collapse goes into kinetic energy according to the virial theorem.

The concept of the Jean's Mass as the critical mass for collapse into a star is an important concept.


Black hole concepts
HyperPhysics***** Astrophysics R Nave
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