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Astronomical Applications Department, U.S. Naval Observatory - thesis (Page 15)

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Astronomical Applications Department, U.S. Naval Observatory - thesis
The purpose of this paper is to utilize far-ultraviolet FUV, H , and HI images
to gain new insight into the star formation process of intrinsically simple systems
by studying the interconnection between massive star formation and the ionized
and neutral components of the galaxy's interstellar medium ISM.
1.1 The Study of Star Formation
The rst step in forming a fundamental theory to describe the star formation in
all environments is understanding the process in the simplest systems. The chain
of events marking the speci c stages in the star formation process are generally
understood. For example, massive star formation begins with the formation of O
and B stars from dense molecular clouds, HII regions are formed, the molecular
cloud is disrupted, and the stars explode as supernovae. The majority of star
formation research at this time concentrates on how this process is initiated and
propagates through a system. The underlying triggering mechanism for gravita-
tional collapse is not yet fully understood. Tied to this is the question of how
star formation is globally regulated and maintained in a galaxy and why di er-
ent types of galaxies turn their gas reservoirs into stars at di erent rates. This
study uses unique observational tools to address these basic questions in relatively
uncomplicated star forming environments.
Traditional candidates for the primary star formation triggering mechanisms
depend upon galaxy type. Star formation in spiral galaxies is explained via spiral

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