The emission from the dust (colour scale) and the molecule C18O (white contours) in a massive core inside of which a massive young star is forming. These data were take by the JBCA group using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii.
Stars are the building blocks of the universe. They form in the coldest, densest regions of the most massive objects in galaxies, giant molecular clouds. These clouds contain up to a million times the mass of typical star, but during their lifetime only about 2% of this mass will turn in to stars. However, once formed these stars drive the evolution of their galaxy.
Our research is focussed on using observations and modeling of molecular line and dust continuum emission to understand the formation and early evolution of stars in the molecular clouds in our Galaxy and other galaxies.Current large scale projects related to star form which we are leading, or taking part in, include:
Hi-GAL is a Herschel Open Time Key-Project to survey the plane of our Galaxy in the far-infrared and submillimetre to study the distribution of dust and young stellar objects.
Spitzer Dark Cloud Survey
In this survey we have been using the Spitzer GLIMPSE, GLIMPSEII and MIPSGAL surveys to identify and study a large sample of infrared dark clouds (IRDCs). This are cold, dense, quiescent regions which are the sites where stellar clusters and massive stars form.
Spectral Legacy Survey
This is a survey we are leading to study the structure, composition and evolution of the molecular gas in star forming regions. The goal is to understand how the emission from molecules can be used to understand the physical processes involved in the formation and early evolution of stars.
Maser Multi-Beam Survey
Unlike the other common types of interstellar masers, methanol masers are only associated with young high mass stars. Using a specially constructed seven beam receiver, this survey which we are leading is mapping the Galactic plane to identify new maser sources. The early indications are that this survey will more than double the number of known methanol masers.
- JCMT Plane
By mapping the plane of our Galaxy at 850 microns using SCUBA2 on JCMT, this survey will identify the cool dust associated with high mass star forming regions. The survey will produce a galaxy-wide catalogue high mass star forming regions which will be used to study the physics of high mass star formation and the effects young high mass stars have on their environment.
To quote the website: The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) Survey is a large international project to make molecular line maps of 3,000 dense cores in the galactic plane. The survey is using the fast-mapping capability of the ATNF Mopra 22-m telescope, combined with the new broadband MOPS correlators which allow the simultaneous imaging of 16 molecular lines near 90 GHz.
- JCMT Gould's
To study the local star formation and investigate the physics of the formation of low mass stars, this survey is mapping both the dust and gas in the nearby regions of star formation.
SCUBA-2 "All-Sky" Survey
The SCUBA-2 "All-Sky" Survey, or SASSy, is a JCMT Legacy Survey project designed to exploit the rapid mapping capability of SCUBA-2 to ultimately map the entire sky visible from the JCMT to an angular resolution of 14" at 850 B5m. The benefits of such a wide-field survey are many, ranging from a complete census of infrared dark clouds (IRDCs), massive cores which may be precursors to the formation of high mass stars, to the potential discovery of some of the most luminous high-redshift galaxies in the Universe.
This project is the radio continuum part of a series of multi-wavelength surveys of the Galactic Plane that focus on the northern GLIMPSE region (l=10° to 65°, |b|<1°), completed by the SPITZER space telescope in the mid-IR. The same region is being covered by a new near-IR survey by the UKIDSS consortium and will also be part of a submillimetre continuum survey at the JCMT. CORNISH aims to deliver a complementary, uniform, sensitive, high resolution radio survey to address key questions in high-mass star formation as well as many other areas of astrophysics.