Astronomy Seminar--Giant Molecular Clouds in the Galactic Center: The Past, Current, and Future of Star Formation

3:00 PM  - 4:00 PM
Tuesday Feb 26, 2013
Room 150, Olin-Rice Science Center

Dr. Cornelia Lang, University of Iowa, will discuss recent observations made with the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico aimed at studying the molecular clouds in the core of the Galaxy.

This region of the Galaxy is opaque to optical light, so we use radio and infrared telescopes to make images of this exciting and  energetic region. In particular, we are interested in understanding their detailed properties of the molecular gas, which will be transformed into stars. This process may be quite different in the Galactic center, where the environment is densely packed and the physical conditions are more extreme than in the Solar neighborhood.  I will discuss very high resolution VLA observations of several molecular clouds in the central 1000 light years of the Galaxy that shed light on recent star formation in this region, ongoing star formation and the potential for new clouds to be forming the next generation of massive stars. In addition to studying the kinematic and morphology properties of the molecular gas with a number of spectral line tracers, we have discovered an unexpected abundance of Class I methanol maser emission. The widespread distribution of these masers suggests shocks play an important role in driving cloud evolution throughout this unique region of our Galaxy.

This event is for: Alumni, Students, Staff and Faculty

Admission: Free

Sponsored By: Physics & Astronomy

Categories: Front Page Events, Lectures and Speakers and Featured Events