Dr. Elizabeth Humphreys, at the Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), along with co-investigators Claire Chandler at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Lincoln Greenhill at the SAO, will undertake a program to directly map and track the 3-D dynamics of gas around a massive, a deeply embedded young stellar object (YSO) in the Orion KL region (radio source "I"). The region to be studied is at radii of 10 to 1000 Astronomical Units from the source, where outflow of material is launched from an accretion disk. The source is the closest known massive YSO, and the only target for which this type of study can be undertaken.
An outcome of the research program will be a movie of a star in formation, which will serve as the cornerstone of a CD-ROM and web-based education program. The program will be developed with the SAO Science Education Department, and will be directed toward students and the general public through dissemination to schools, planetaria and museums. Additionally, calibrated data and images will be stored in a publicly accessible web archive, and undergraduate student involvement in the research is anticipated.