Stellar Winds in Cluster Cores

Volume-rendered images of a hydrodynamical simulation I constructed using FLASH, a high-performance application code, and yt are illustrated here. This simulation traces the interacting stellar winds of 50 evolved stars within the core of a stellar cluster. The colors reveal density differences in the environment. I also track the wind temperature and the ionization state of these interacting outflows. The winds permeate outward, shocking as they collide. Hot, tenuous stellar winds are observed to escape the core in thin filaments, while very few stars contribute to mass accumulation in the cluster. The intracluster densities produced are in agreement with observational measurements. 


Dr. Jill Naiman used the 3D visualization tool AstroBlend to explore the simulation. This work generated striking, interactive images that serve as an invaluable diagnostic tool. Shown below are the isodensity contours, colored by temperature, at two different evolutionary timesteps.

These images are part of a curated gallery for the Art of Science exhibit at Princeton University and can also be found hanging on the walls of the Dark Cosmology Centre in Copenhagen.