Protostars: From Molecular Clouds to Dusty Discs

This is the home page of the Sapere Aude DFF-Research Leader Project Protostars: From Molecular Clouds to Dusty Discs, which runs from 2014 to 2017. We are part of the Center for Star and Planet Formation located at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the Niels Bohr Institute.

We work with numerical and theoretical models of star formation and proto-planetary accretion disks around newly formed stars. Molecular clouds are the large-scale supply from where stars are formed via gravitationally accretion of mass and angular momentum. The accretion process channels gas through a disk to the star in a delicate balance with the environment. We employ sophisticated computer codes, both at the local high performance computing centers and on the largest computers worldwide, to deal with the challenges from the large-scale environment to the microscopic growth of dust to planetesimals in circumstellar disks. This makes it possible to bridge the gap between molecular cloud scales, which determine the initial and boundary conditions for circumstellar disk accretion, and the microphysical scales, which create the conditions for planet formation.

The specific goals of the project are four-fold

  • Instead of modeling forming stars as isolated entities, we explore the formation of single stars in the full context of a parent molecular cloud, for a statistically unbiased sample with thousands of stars, and self-consistent formation of multiple systems and star clusters.
  • Develop and use a pipeline for synthetic observations using a combination of RAD-MC and LIME to be able to compare our models directly with sub-mm observations, and to build up a database from the models, which can help in making non-paramtric models for interpreting observations.
  • Tracing the chemistry in prestellar envelopes and circumstellar disks using chemical networks on top of the simulations.
  • Use our locally developed peta-scale particle-in-cell code to model gas-dust interactions in proto-planetary disks, to better understand the formation of the first solids, and the growth of dust to larger sized bodies.

Data sets and results related to our publications will be hosted on this site, to enhance the legacy value, and enable the wider community to benefit from the project.

Members of the project

Troels Haugbølle (PI)

Tommaso Grassi (Post Doc)

Troels Frostholm (PhD)

Related to the project

Michael Küffmeier, Åke Nordlund, Jon Ramsey, Paolo Padoan, and Neil Vaytet -- modelling

Christian Brinch, Søren Frimann, and Jes Jøgensen -- synthetic observations


  1. "Tracking the Distribution of 26Al and 60Fe during the Early Phases of Star and Disk Evolution", Kuffmeier, Michael; Frostholm Mogensen, Troels; Haugbølle, Troels; Bizzarro, Martin; Nordlund, Åke, ApJ 826, 1, 22 (2016)
  2. "Supernova Driving. II. Compressive Ratio in Molecular-cloud Turbulence",
    Pan, Liubin; Padoan, Paolo; Haugbølle, Troels; Nordlund, Åke, ApJ 825, 1, 30 (2016)
  3. "Supernova Driving. I. The Origin of Molecular Cloud Turbulence", Padoan, Paolo; Pan, Liubin; Haugbølle, Troels; Nordlund, Åke, ApJ 822, 1, 11 (2016)
  4. "A chemical model for the interstellar medium in galaxies", Bovino, S.; Grassi, T.; Capelo, Pedro R.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Banerjee, R., A&A 590, A15 (2016)
  5. "Protostellar accretion traced with chemistry. Comparing synthetic C18O maps of embedded protostars to real observations", Frimann, S.; Jørgensen, J. K.; Padoan, P.; Haugbølle, T., A&A 587, A60 (2016)
  6. "Large-scale numerical simulations of star formation put to the test. Comparing synthetic images and actual observations for statistical samples of protostars", Frimann, S.; Jørgensen, J. K.; Haugbølle, T., A&A 587, A59 (2016)
  7. "The formation of the primitive star SDSS J102915+172927: does the grain distribution matter?", Bovino, S.; Grassi, T.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Banerjee, R., arXiv:1601.04525 (2016)
  8. "The chemical evolution of self-gravitating primordial disks", Schleicher, Dominik R. G.; Bovino, Stefano; Latif, Muhammad A.; Ferrara, Andrea; Grassi, Tommaso, A&A 585, A11 (2016)
  9. "Pathway to the Galactic Distribution of Planets: Combined Spitzer and Ground-Based Microlens Parallax Measurements of 21 Single-Lens Events", Calchi Novati, S., ..., T. Haugbølle, ..., ApJ 804, 1, 20 (2015)
  10. "STARBENCH: the D-type expansion of an H II region", Bisbas, T. G.; Haworth, T. J.; Williams, R. J. R.; Mackey, J.; Tremblin, P.; Raga, A. C.; Arthur, S. J.; Baczynski, C.; Dale, J. E.; Frostholm, T.; Geen, S.; Haugbølle, T.; Hubber, D.; Iliev, I. T.; Kuiper, R.; Rosdahl, J.; Sullivan, D.; Walch, S.; Wünsch, R., MNRAS 453, 2, p. 1324 (2015)
  11. "How realistic UV spectra and X-rays suppress the abundance of direct collapse black holes", Latif, M. A.; Bovino, S.; Grassi, T.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Spaans, M., MNRAS 446, 3, p. 3136 (2015)
  12. "Infall-driven Protostellar Accretion and the Solution to the Luminosity Problem", Padoan, Paolo; Haugbølle, Troels; Nordlund, Åke, ApJ 797, 1, 32 (2014)
  13. "Effects of turbulence and rotation on protostar formation as a precursor of massive black holes", Van Borm, C.; Bovino, S.; Latif, M. A.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Spaans, M.; Grassi, T., A&A 572, A22 (2014)
  14. "A UV flux constraint on the formation of direct collapse black holes", Latif, M. A.; Bovino, S.; Van Borm, C.; Grassi, T.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Spaans, M., MNRAS 443, 3, p. 1979 (2014)
  15. "The Formation of Massive Primordial Stars in the Presence of Moderate UV Backgrounds", Latif, M. A.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Bovino, S.; Grassi, T.; Spaans, M., ApJ 792, 1, 78 (2014)
  16. "Formation of Carbon-enhanced Metal-poor Stars in the Presence of Far-ultraviolet Radiation", Bovino, S.; Grassi, T.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Latif, M. A., ApJL 790, 2, L35 (2014)
  17. "Dark-matter halo mergers as a fertile environment for low-mass Population III star formation", Bovino, S.; Latif, M. A.; Grassi, T.; Schleicher, D. R. G., MNRAS 441, 3, p. 2181 (2014)
  18. "ALMA observations of the kinematics and chemistry of disc formation",
    Lindberg, Johan E.; Jørgensen, Jes K.; Brinch, Christian; Haugbølle, Troels; Bergin, Edwin A.; Harsono, Daniel; Persson, Magnus V.; Visser, Ruud; Yamamoto, Satoshi, A&A 566, A74 (2014)
  19. "KROME - a package to embed chemistry in astrophysical simulations", Grassi, T.; Bovino, S.; Schleicher, D. R. G.; Prieto, J.; Seifried, D.; Simoncini, E.; Gianturco, F. A., MNRAS 439, 3, p. 2386 (2014)
  20. "Zooming in on the Formation of Protoplanetary Disks", Nordlund, Åke; Haugbølle, Troels; Küffmeier, Michael; Padoan, Paolo; Vasileiades, Aris, IAU Symp 299, p. 131 (2014)