The PI and his team study how cold molecular material in high-mass star forming regions develops from the earliest, fragmentation and pre-stellar phases to an ionized region around massive stars. The recent surveys of the Galactic Plane at infrared and millimeter wavelengths allow an unbiased identification and classification of high mass star forming regions, including the infrared-dark, compact molecular clumps that are likely precursors to massive stars. A large systematic high-resolution study of the youngest phases of massive star formation will be done for about 40 high mass star forming regions over three years. Observations are done using the three submillimeter telescopes on Mauna Kea, the Submillimeter Array (SMA), James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), and Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO), through the share of time apportioned to the University of Hawaii. This work lays a foundation for early science observations with the NSF-funded Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The results will place constraints on competing theoretical models for the formation of large stellar clusters and high-mass stars as the mechanisms how embryonic molecular clumps break down into star-forming cores, and the processes by which massive stars build up, are not yet well understood. This project has broader implications for studies of galaxy evolution and models of Solar System origins in a massive star environment. This project contributes to the education and training of a graduate student to the PhD level in observational and analytical techniques of (sub-)millimeter astronomy and interferometry . An undergraduate astronomy major from the minority-serving University of Hawaii at Hilo will also participate in the project by assisting on Mauna Kea observing runs, and learn about data reduction and analysis techniques.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1108907
Program Officer
James Neff
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-07-15
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$286,858
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Hawaii
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Honolulu
State
HI
Country
United States
Zip Code
96822