Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STARRY (STARs that 'R' Young : When do stars form in clustered environments?)
Okres sprawozdawczy: 2016-02-01 do 2018-01-31
The question that naturally arises is whether there are such clouds where stars can form. Although not realised at the time, the observational story started a bit earlier, when Sir William Herschel found well-defined dark patches on the sky, from which no star light emanated. His first reaction appears to have been one of shock, ""My God, a hole in the sky!"", but we now know that in these places there are so many dust particles that they can block the light from the background stars just as fog blocks our view on a misty day. These dark clouds turn out to be very cold and massive enough to provide the material to build one or more stars. These cool, dark clouds are even capable of contracting into a star. The cradles of stars were found.
An additional finding is that many stars are not alone, but are often found in groups of dozens to even hundreds of stars and such groups are called clusters. The next question that arises is whether the stars are born in this manner or grouped together later in life? It would appear that they may be born at the same time – in the context of the star formation through a cloud collapse, it makes sense that a very large cloud can give rise to more than one star. This is indeed what is found in model simulations; large clouds can result in many stars.
This project takes this notion one step further and investigates whether no stars form in clusters, or whether all stars form in clusters. It is based on research in the nineties which provided evidence for an effect that young massive stars were mostly found in clusters, while lower mass young stars were not. With the advent of the GAIA space telescope we aim to address this issue by studying an order of magnitude more objects, search for the presence of clusters around them, and then verify the earlier claim by looking at the presence of clusters as a function of mass of the star. Thanks to the GAIA telescope, we will not only discover more such young objects to study, but also be able parameterise the clusters in terms of their age and size.
Both Early Stage Researcher have received extensive training, not only in research and research methodologies, but also in transferable skills such as computing, enterpreneurial skills as well as bespoke language teaching. They have presented their works at various international conferences and have actively participated in public outreach, by giving talks and participating in various outreach events.
As far as the research is concerned, methodologies have been implemented, coded and tested on the earlier GAIA release data to full satisfaction. For the first project, the properties of Herbig Ae/Be stars have been documented and tests indicate that more than 80% of those known can be automatically selected from GAIA data, while 98.8% of stars are automatically rejected. Similarly, for project 2, the methodologies have been tested, coded and implemented, and using the early GAIA data, (previously known) clusters in a semi-automatic manner are recovered, while their parameters are reproduced at high accuracy. The project is looking forward to the release of GAIA DR2, which promises an exciting time ahead.