One important step in how determing the star formation rate of a galaxy is understanding how gas from its warm and diffuse state to a dense and cold state, which can potentially form stars. This evolution starts in the Milky Way’s gaseous halo and carries throughout the Galactic disk. The temperature structure, particularly the fraction of cold-to-warm hydrogen in the lower halo and across the Milky Way disk, tells us about how gas cools and through that, probes the evolutionary history of the Milky Way.
This project will look at the multi-temperature structure of Milky Way disk and circumgalactic gas surrounding the Milky Way using new data of atomic hydrogen (HI) absorption from the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) Survey of Galactic atomic hydrogen, GASKAP-HI. This will be the best surveys of atomic gas in the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds for decades until the Square Kilometre Array. We will try to understand the structure of the galaxies in cold gas and what that tells us about where stars should form. PhD & Masters students on this project will have the opportunity to be among the first users of ASKAP.