UCL Astronomy Group Travel Grant

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


Little more than 20 years ago we knew of no other planets than the ones in our own solar system. Today we have discovered thousands of so-called exoplanets orbiting other stars, including our nearest neighbour star. Which stars form planets and how does planet formation take place?

Planets and stars ultimately form from interstellar material (gas) which has been enriched with heavier elements through the life-cycle of stars. How this enrichment occurs, through supernovae explosions and/or stellar winds, and how the star formation process itself occurs and the role of chemical reactions in the gas that forms stars, are therefore fundamental questions that needs to be addressed.

The build-up of stellar populations and the role played by gas and dust and its chemistry are crucial pieces to the puzzle of how galaxies formed and evolved. In other words, how did the zoo of galaxies that we see today in the local Universe come about - starting from the first billion years after the big bang to today? How did star formation proceed in galaxies throughout cosmic time - which physical processes might have halted or slowed down star formation in galaxies, processes which would have had a significant impact on the properties of a galaxy at the present day.

The Astronomy Group at UCL leads research projects in all of the above areas.


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