Discipline: 
Physics
Status: 
Available
Level: 
PhD Project
Level: 
Masters Project
Level: 
Honours Project
Level: 
Summer Project
Supervisor(s): 
Dr Holger Baumgardt

Star formation is the process by which stars form out of interstellar gas clouds. Although important for astronomy, we still have only an incomplete understanding of star formation because it happens at the centers of heavily obscured dust clouds. One can however look at the results of star formation by studying young star clusters or stellar associations. In this project you will identify stars that belong to nearby OB associations by using data from the GAIA satellite. GAIA is a satellite that is measuring the positions, distances and proper motions of a billion stars in our Milky Way and other nearby galaxies. It will create the largest inventory of stars in our Galaxy. Once member stars of OB associations are identified, you will use additional information to estimate the ages of the associations, their motion and the initial mass function with which the stars formed.