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STARFORGE: Toward a comprehensive numerical model of star cluster formation and feedback

Grudić, Michael Y. and Guszejnov, Dávid and Hopkins, Philip F. and Offner, Stella S. R. and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André (2021) STARFORGE: Toward a comprehensive numerical model of star cluster formation and feedback. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 506 (2). pp. 2199-2231. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab1347.

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We present STARFORGE (STAR FORmation in Gaseous Environments): a new numerical framework for 3D radiation magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of star formation that simultaneously follow the formation, accretion, evolution, and dynamics of individual stars in massive giant molecular clouds (GMCs), while accounting for stellar feedback, including jets, radiative heating and momentum, stellar winds, and supernovae. We use the GIZMO code with the MFM mesh-free Lagrangian MHD method, augmented with new algorithms for gravity, time-stepping, sink particle formation and accretion, stellar dynamics, and feedback coupling. We survey a wide range of numerical parameters/prescriptions for sink formation and accretion and find very small variations in star formation history and the IMF (except for intentionally unphysical variations). Modules for mass-injecting feedback (winds, SNe, and jets) inject new gas elements on the fly, eliminating the lack of resolution in diffuse feedback cavities otherwise inherent in Lagrangian methods. The treatment of radiation uses GIZMO’s radiative transfer solver to track five frequency bands (IR, optical, NUV, FUV, ionizing), coupling direct stellar emission and dust emission with gas heating and radiation pressure terms. We demonstrate accurate solutions for SNe, winds, and radiation in problems with known similarity solutions, and show that our jet module is robust to resolution and numerical details, and agrees well with previous AMR simulations. STARFORGE can scale up to massive (>10⁵ M⊙) GMCs on current supercomputers while predicting the stellar (≳0.1 M⊙) range of the IMF, permitting simulations of both high- and low-mass cluster formation in a wide range of conditions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemGIZMO Code
Grudić, Michael Y.0000-0002-1655-5604
Guszejnov, Dávid0000-0001-5541-3150
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Offner, Stella S. R.0000-0003-1252-9916
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 May 2. Received 2021 April 16; in original form 2020 October 25. Published: 17 May 2021. We warmly thank the theoretical and observational star formation communities for the innumerable enlightening exchanges that informed and motivated this work over the past several years. We are especially grateful to fellow starsmith Anna Rosen and to the referee Chris Matzner, whose careful readings helped improve the manuscript. MYG is supported by a CIERA Postdoctoral Fellowship. DG is supported by the Harlan J. Smith McDonald Observatory Postdoctoral Fellowship. Support for PFH was provided by NSF Collaborative Research Grants 1715847 and 1911233, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, and NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562 an JPL 1589742. SSRO acknowledges support by NSF CAREER Award AST-1748571, NSF grant AST-1812747, NASA ATP grant 80NSSC20K0507 and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. CAFG is supported by NSF through grants AST-1715216, and CAREER award AST-1652522; by NASA through grant 17-ATP17-0067; and by a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. This work used computational resources provided by XSEDE allocation AST-190018, the Frontera allocation AST-20019, and additional resources provided by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC; Data Availability: The data supporting the plots within this article and the initial conditions used for the numerical tests are available by request to the corresponding authors. A public version of the GIZMO code is available at
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA)UNSPECIFIED
McDonald ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:MHD – radiative transfer – turbulence –methods: numerical – stars: formation – ISM: general
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211026-215215582
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Michael Y Grudić, Dávid Guszejnov, Philip F Hopkins, Stella S R Offner, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, STARFORGE: Towards a comprehensive numerical model of star cluster formation and feedback, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 506, Issue 2, September 2021, Pages 2199–2231,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111653
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Oct 2021 22:26
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 22:26

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