The students will map the mass distribution of a dense molecular
cloud and determine whether it contains any gravitationally bound,
potentially pre-stellar cores. They will check for signs of
protostellar activity and determine the evolutionary stages of the
sources (if found). The project will be done using existing
Herschel (FIR/submm), Spitzer (MIR/FIR), 2Mass, and/or molecular
line data. The project will be complemented by real time observations
with the NOT or the Onsala Space Observatory 20m telescope - either
for new NIR imaging (NOT) to map the extinction in the region or
molecular line observations (Onsala) to determine its kinematic distance
and search for outﬂows.
The students will reconstruct the morphology of an embedded protostar
using existing multi-wavelength observations. The students will work
on millimeter wavelength interferometric observations of the protostar
to separate the different components of the protostar, its envelope,
disk and outﬂow. The students will compare these observations to HST
and Spitzer archival data for the same source - and explore simple radiative
transfer models to understand the constraints on the system offered through
imaging at different wavelengths.
Water is one of the key molecules in the environments of young low-mass
stars - and following its path through the different evolutionary stages
of the star formation process is an interesting task, e.g., for
understanding its origin in planetary systems. In this project the
students will get acquainted with different techniques for spectroscopic
observations of water in these regions - comparing spectroscopic infrared
data from the VLT and Spitzer, Herschel Space Observatory and high angular
resolution images at millimeter wavelengths. They will derive the
quantities of water around a young star (or young stars) using these
different types of observations and compare the results to understand the
possibilities of the various methods - and their limitations.
In this project, mosaic slitless spectroscopy of a star forming region
in Cygnus will be obtained with the NOT using a grism to identify young
Hα emission line stars. The same region will also be imaged in
Hα and [SII] to look for outflow activity in the form of HH objects.
Once the young stars have been identified the students will use 2MASS and
Spitzer data to prepare energy distributions, which can be compared to
radiative transfer models for such envelope/disk systems. This will give
insight into a variety of observational data and techniques, and give
some feeling for the possibilities and limitations of interpreting energy
distributions. Finally, optical spectra will be obtained with the NOT for
a few selected young stars to spectrally classify and characterize them.
VLT-CRIRES high resolution infrared spectroscopy will be used to determine
the location of warm gas in disks thought to be actively forming planets.
The targeted disks have little or no emission from warm dust, yet emit
strongly in lines from warm molecular gas orbiting at radii of ~1 AU. The
question is how these disks have been altered to remove the dust, but not
the gas, and whether this is related to the formation of a planetary
system. In this project the students will explore the use of state-of-the-art
infrared spectroscopy, assisted by adaptive optics systems, to provide
observations at the highest possible spatial and spectral resolution of the
inner regions of circumstellar disks where planets form. This type of
observation is driving instrumentation for the next generation of telescopes,
including the European ELT and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).