The Scales of Star Formation

Date: 
Wednesday, October 05, 2016 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Daniela Calzetti
Affiliation: 
University of Massachusetts
Location: 
N232, room 103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

One of the missing pieces in the puzzle of star formation is the link across the full range of scales, from the sizes of stars and star clusters all the way to those of whole galaxies. Lack of understanding of the link between scales is a major barrier in the development of a predictive theory of star formation. This affects our interpretative ability of a vast array of observational properties in galaxies, including the scaling between star formation and gas (the Schmidt-Kennicutt Law), the nature and evolution of the giant clumps of star formation at high redshift, and the nature of the observed light as a tracer of star formation. I will present a project, based on new HST data, and combined with archival data from GALEX, Spitzer, and Herschel, that is attempting to investigate the missing link. This project, LEGUS, has imaged 50 nearby galaxies at high angular resolution in the UV-to-I, and the information it has provided is now being used to test models for the spatial evolution of star formation. Multi-scale star formation is also being investigated with sub-mm and millimeter facilities, thus bringing a multi-pronged approach to this complex problem.

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