Accretion and outflow in young stellar objects


Principal investigator


Obtaining a good understanding of the physics of star formation remains one of the main problems in astrophysics today. The formation of stars determines the structure, evolution and luminosity of galaxies, and quite possibly contributed to the reionisation of the early Universe. Most of the elements we see in the world around us were formed in stars, and understanding star formation is key to understanding the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and ultimately, the evolution of life. Despite the importance of star formation, much about the process remains uncertain, in particular how stars successfully accrete material from their surrounds as they form. The study of this accretion (via circumstellar discs), and the outflows of material and energy that the process generates, is a major field in the study of young stellar objects.
This research project undertakes analytical and computational modelling of the outflows from such young stars, in particular the T Tauri class of young stellar objects (YSOs). Understanding the peculiarities of this emission (e.g., the formation of structures reminiscent of entrainment of ambient gas and knots or clumps of emitting gas in the outflowing jets) will yield information on how the disk is launching these jets, and the role that these jets play in the accretion process. The numerical modelling will be done using the FLASH magnetohydrodynamic code, and compared to integral-field observations observations of the T Tauri class objects DG Tau and RW Aur obtained with the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIFS). Modelling of the disk will also be undertaken if time permits.

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