Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Physics and Astronomy


Ralph E. Pudritz


James Wadsley



Committee Member

Christine D. Wilson


Stars form in clusters amidst complex and coupled physical phenomena. Among the most important of these is radiative feedback, which heats the surrounding gas to suppress the formation of many low-mass stars. In simulations of star formation, pre-main-sequence modeling has often been neglected and stars are assumed to have the radii and luminosities of zero-age main sequence stars. We challenge this approach by developing and integrating a one-zone protostellar evolution model for FLASH and using it to regulate the radiation output of forming stars. The impact of accurate pre-main-sequence models is less ionizing radiation and less heating during the early stages of star formation. For stars modeled in isolation, the effect of protostellar modeling resulted in ultracompact HII regions that formed slower than in the ZAMS case, but also responded to transitions in the star itself. The HII region was seen to collapse and subsequently be rebuilt as the star underwent a swelling of its radius in response to changes in stellar structure and nuclear burning. This is an important effect that has been missed in previous simulations. It implies that observed variations in HII regions may signal changes in the stars themselves, if these variation can be disentangled from other environmental effects seen in the chaotic cluster environment.

McMaster University Library

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