Time: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 27th
Speaker: Michael Foley
In the past five years, our perspective of our local Milky Way has shifted from 2D to true 3D. This remarkable achievement has been made possible by data from many observatories, especially the Gaia satellite. This data has enabled numerous discoveries about nearby star forming regions, star clusters, supernova remnants, and larger galactic structure. Our team has taken all this data and placed it into a unified 3D framework, allowing us to piece together the story of how new stars form in our local patch of the Milky Way. We have discovered that this story is cyclical – stellar death (in the form of supernovae) creates the conditions for new stellar birth. In this talk, I will first present a brief history of local star formation research and the open questions that remain. Next, I will describe the methodology of new 3D mapping techniques which allow us to answer some of these questions. I will then present the 3D, interactive results from our team that give us a coherent picture of star formation in our solar neighborhood. Finally, I will discuss what questions are still unanswered and the 3D astronomical discoveries that may be waiting for us over the next decade.