Fellowship for Mathew Lykins: The Orgins of Stars and Planets-A Continuing Study of the Role of Magnetic Fields in the W3 Star Formation Region of the Galaxy

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposal describes the continuation of a Ph.D. dissertation project to study the influence of interstellar magnetic fields upon the star forming process in a region of our Galaxy called W3. The W3 region is a well known complex of interstellar clouds and star formation located about 2 kiloparsecs (3000 ly) from the Sun. Using radio astronomical data obtained with the Very Large Array, we seek to map magnetic field strengths in this region with high sensitivity and high spatial resolution. This project wifi help us to better understand the role that magnetic fields play in the star formation process and, by extension, in the formation of planets. This project bears directly upon the question of the origins of our own Sun and Solar System, since the star formation process operating in the Galaxy today is expected to be the same as that which gave birth to the Sun and Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. Therefore, this project is directly relevant to the Origins Program of NASA which seeks a better, more comprehensive understanding of our origins in the universe. The project involves scientific collaboration with NASA scientist Dr. Jessie Dotson who is also interested in star formation and has studied magnetic fields in the W3 region. In the Project Description section we describe progress that has already been made in developing a model of the three-dimensional structure of the W3 magnetic field.
Effective start/end date6/1/076/30/09


  • Western Kentucky University: $18,000.00


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