We have discovered a massive star-forming complex in the unexplored southwest region of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which manifests itself as a younger, embedded twin of 30 Doradus. This work provides insight into the formation of 30 Doradus and ‘extreme’ star formation in general, which may be analogous to star formation in the early Universe. Published in Nature Astronomy.
At Hopkins / STScI, I have been part of a core science team that will use JWST GTO time to study star formation in a wide range of environments, from ‘extreme’ to more ‘quiescent’ regions, spanning almost two orders of magnitude in metallicity. I am responsible for defining, planning, and exploiting these observations, maximizing the scientific output from various JWST instruments (MIRI/NIRCam/NIRSpec) and observational modes (imaging, IFU spectroscopy, MOS).
I study star formation on individual cloud scales. We have found that the SFR in any given cloud is not stationary, but ramps up as GMCs evolve. In addition, it turns out that more massive clouds are less efficient in forming massive stars. These effects are not captured in current widely-used star formation models.
I combine data from galaxy-wide surveys to statistically study the location and clustering of massive star formation and its relation to the internal structure of GMCs.
I dissect superbubbles. The Orion-Eridanus superbubble is the prototypical example of an evolved superbubble where we can study the interplay between stellar feedback, the evolution of the interstellar medium, and the importance of (triggered) star formation in great detail.
I combine observations with hydrodynamical models to disentangle which feedback mechanism drives the expansion of HII regions and to determine their contribution to the energy budget of the ISM.
I developed a new method to study the properties and evolution of dust. The model uses the interaction of dusty plasmas with nearby (massive) stars, and allows to study properties of interstellar dust that can not be measured through classical emission or extinction studies.