How does the Milky Way get new gas to continue its voracious habit of star formation?

The Milky Way is surrounded by a low density gaseous halo with temperatures ranging from less than 1000 degrees to 10 million degrees.  Embedded in this halo are structures, known as high velocity clouds, that probe the evolutionary history of the Milky Way including how it gets new gas and how it loses gas.  One outstanding problem in galaxy evolution is how do primordial or infalling gas structures survive their passage through the Milky Way's hot halo long enough to reach the disk and provide new fuel for star formation.  Recently we discovered that magnetic fields may provide part of the answer.  Our recent theoretical work has made a prediction about the structure of magnetic fields in high velocity clouds.  

In this project you will use existing and new data to serarch for the signature of magnetic fields in clouds throughout the Milky Way halo.  We will work with theorists at the University of Sydney to match observational data to recent theoretical models.  The project will involve observational data from a number of the world's best radio telescopes, including the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) in its early stages as part of the POSSUM survey of the Universe's magnetism.  You will become a member of this large international team and have the opportunity to produce some of the earliest headline science with ASKAP.  

Updated:  25 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster