Colloquia - Astronomy Department
Cosmic Star Formation: The View from the Milky Way
Jens Kauffmann, MIT Haystack Observatory
Refreshments available in the 1033 LGRT lounge area from 3:45-4:00 PM.
The formation of galaxies, stars, and planets over cosmic time is still only partially understood. What are the agents that impede the collapse of some dense molecular clouds? What are the star formation rates of these clouds? Did the star formation rate per unit cloud mass change over time? Does star formation in extreme environments, such as galaxy centers and starbursts, proceed differently from what is seen under average conditions? Here I present work that explores these questions in the Milky Way and that develops tools that allow to apply these lessons to other galaxies. In particular, I explore the density structure and the gravitational binding of molecular clouds in the disk of the Milky Way and its center. This is in part based on a new large survey (~30h) of the Central Molecular Zone with ALMA. I also discuss what molecular line emission and line ratios measured in the Milky Way can tell us about the gas conditions in other galaxies. For this work I use a new wide–field legacy survey (~600h) of galactic molecular clouds obtained at IRAM’s 30m–telescope.