FNWI --- IMAPP Department of Astrophysics
Radboud University > Faculty of Science > Department of Astrophysics


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news:closing_the_gap_-_from_galactic_to_extragalactic_star_formation_relations [2015/11/11 15:25] (current)
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 +**Dr. Jens Kauffmann**,​ Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR), Bonn, Germany
 +Tuesday 17 November, HG00.062, 16:00h
 +**Closing the Gap: From Galactic to Extragalactic Star Formation Relations**
 +Star formation research enters an exciting period. Wide-field surveys allow for the first time to appreciate Milky Way star formation in the context of the large-scale structure of molecular clouds and the Galaxy. At the same time high-powered instruments like ALMA and the future JWST permit to zoom in onto the fine details of distant clouds in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. In the end this line of research will give us a thorough understanding how the Milky Way grew out of more diffuse gas over time. The formation of stars out of molecular clouds is often described via “star formation relations”. To date we have a good understanding of these relations in the immediate solar neighborhood (d<​500pc).
 +We now need to explore star formation throughout the Milky Way. I will describe research on star formation in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ; inner ~100pc) of the Milky Way that helps us to develop a broader perspective. In particular I will present results from recent observations with the ALMA and SMA interferometers that expose the inner structure of CMZ clouds for the first time. This reveals a population of unusually dense and massive clouds — in which star formation appears to be suppressed, compared to conditions closer to sun. This is remarkable, given that the properties of CMZ clouds resemble those found in nearby starburst galaxies.
 +We also need to develop methods that allow to apply lessons learned in the Milky Way to extragalactic star formation. In particular I examine how specific molecules like HCN can be used to trace star-forming dense gas in other galaxies. This work is based on some of the largest wide-field emission line maps currently available for Milky Way clouds. My research reveals a couple of unexpected trends that severely influence our interpretation of cosmic star formation. We have started astrochemical modeling to better understand these trends.