Using large scale supercomputers, NASA researches simulate the formation of stars in 2013.
In this image, a simulation shows the gas filaments that formed in an infrared dark cloud 800,000 years after the region began gravitational collapse. The extent of the main filament is about 4.5 parsecs in length. In the highest density fragments in the filament (red), molecular cloud cores are developing and will collapse further until they form stars.
Each simulation in this project used 1,000 – 4,000 processors on the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, for a total of 1 million processor-hours over several months of computation.