Clusters, starbursts and feedback into the environments of galaxies

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Each new generation of stars in our own and other galaxies contributes to the enrichment of the interstellar medium (ISM) in heavy elements. Over time, these heavy elements, which may be injected as gas or dust particles, and the outflows that carry them, progressively modify the way that new stars and planets form, as well as the overall properties of the galaxies themselves. Gaining a greater understanding of star formation and the ISM evolution of galaxies, and their interplay, has provided the motivation for the construction of a large number international facilities, including ALMA and the planned JCMT surveys, the VLT and Gemini 8-m telescopes, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope. The co-applicants on the current proposal are heavily involved in research in this area and plan to use these facilities to tackle a number of outstanding problems. These include the role of young star clusters in driving outflows from starburst galaxies; the relative contributions of supernovae and evolved stars to the dust enrichment of galaxies; determining the structures of hot cores in star formation regions via chemical evolution models; investigating the cycling of gas and dust between diffuse clouds and dark clouds; investigating how star-forming regions at high redshifts can be studied via their molecular emission; developing a 3D radiative transfer code to self-consistently treat clumped photodissociation regions located around ionized nebulae, in order to interpret forthcoming observations by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory; and investigating molecular processes in a number of extreme astrophysical environments.

Publications

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Bastian N (2008) The early expansion of cluster cores in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Gordon K (2009) THE DUST-TO-GAS RATIO IN THE SMALL MAGELLANIC CLOUD TAIL in The Astrophysical Journal

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Indebetouw R (2009) PHYSICAL CONDITIONS IN THE IONIZED GAS OF 30 DORADUS in The Astrophysical Journal

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James B (2013) The Lyman break analogue Haro 11: spatially resolved chemodynamics with VLT FLAMES? in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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James B (2009) A VLT VIMOS study of the anomalous BCD Mrk 996: mapping the ionized gas kinematics and abundances in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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James B (2010) A VLT VIMOS integral-field spectroscopic study of perturbed blue compact galaxies: UM 420 and UM 462 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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James B (2013) The merging dwarf galaxy UM 448: chemodynamics of the ionized gas from VLT integral field spectroscopy in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Konstantopoulos I (2009) New results on the ages of star clusters in region B of M82 in Astrophysics and Space Science

 
Description Used Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based telescopes to determine the characteristics of actively star-forming galaxies.
Exploitation Route Published in arXiv (green open access) as well as in refereed journals.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

 
Description June 2009: Talking about astronomy to public at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participants set up two solar telescopes and answered
questions from the public on astronomy. Wore sandwich boards
saying "Ask me about the big bang". This was done again in Paris in Feb 2010.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description UCL `Your Universe' exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 2 talks each at the three events in
Aug 2009, Mar and Oct 2010
Audiences of 30-60, ages 8 and above.

Repeat visits
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010
 
Description talk at the Greenwich planetarium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact One of a series of 3 talks over the summer given by coal-face
astronomers. They converted my talk from powerpoint to display on the dome with sound and music, with me standing at the back with a
microphone.

Audience was the paying public with ~40 people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description talk at the IoP public seminar series, title 'Starbursts: the juicy sweets of the universe' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 80 IoP members attended.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010