ASD Colloquium Series - Fall 2022

ASD Colloquium Series - Fall 2022

The Astrophysics Science Division colloquia occur on Tuesdays at 3:45 pm in a Hybrid format. For in person attendees, the colloquia will be held in building 34, room W150 (unless otherwise noted), with an opportunity to meet the speaker at 3:30 pm. Virtual attendees should use connection information in the calendar invites.

Schedules from past colloquium seasons are available.

Contact: Scott C. Noble


Sep 13 No Colloquium
Sep 20 The Proposed STAR-X MIDEX Mission: Studying The Fast, Furious and Forming Universe
Dr. Ann Hornschemeier Cardiff (NASA GSFC)
Sep 27 No Colloquium


Oct 4 Revealing the Star Formation History of Our Solar Neighborhood
Catherine Zucker (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Oct 11 No Colloquium - Indigenous People's Day Weekend
Oct 18 Laura Newburgh (Department of Physics, Yale University)
Oct 25 TBD


Nov 1 Rebecca Ewing (Department of Physics, Penn State University)
Nov 8 No Colloquium - Election Day
Nov 15 Eve Vavagiakis (Department of Physics, Cornell University)
Nov 22 No Colloquium - Thanksgiving Week
Nov 29 Jane Rigby (NASA GSFC)


Dec 6 Nathan Musoke (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Hampshire)
Dec 13 David Pooley (Department of Physics and Astronomy, Trinity University)
Dec 20 No Colloquium - Winter Holidays
Dec 27 No Colloquium - Winter Holidays

Preview the Spring 2023 season.

The Proposed STAR-X MIDEX Mission: Studying The Fast, Furious and Forming Universe
Dr. Ann Hornschemeier Cardiff
Tuesday, Sep 20, 2023


STAR-X is a GSFC-led MIDEX mission that was proposed to NASA HQ in December 2021 and that was recently (August 2022) selected for competitive Phase A study. Comprising an X-ray Telescope (XRT) provided by GSFC and MIT, a UV Telescope (UVT) provided by the University of Colorado, and a spacecraft provided by Ball Aerospace, STAR-X is designed to conduct time-domain surveys and to respond rapidly to transient events discovered by other observatories such as LIGO, Rubin/LSST, Roman/WFIRST, and SKA. STAR-X is a timely response to Astro2020's recommendation for a space-based, sustaining time-domain and multi-messenger program. The science theme for the mission is “to study the fast, furious and forming Universe.” The “Fast” theme covers transients such as supernova shock breakouts, electromagnetic radiation from neutron star-neutron star mergers detected by ground-based gravitational wave detectors and stellar flares that affect exoplanet atmospheres. The “Furious” theme covers large and rapid amounts of accretion onto black holes, so as to understand rapid black hole growth at earlier times in our Universe, and involves study of Tidal Disruption Events of stars around black holes and time-domain reverberation studies of accretion disk geometry. The third pillar, “Forming”, concerns the growth of large scale structure in the Universe, covering the growth of massive galaxy clusters from their epoch of formation at z>3 to their ongoing growth from the filaments of the cosmic web at the current time. This talk will cover the mission architecture, performance, and the science case

Revealing the Star Formation History of Our Solar Neighborhood
Catherine Zucker
Space Telescope Science Institute
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2022


Given its proximity, the solar neighborhood has long been considered a fundamental laboratory for understanding how stars form. However, until very recently, this understanding was largely based on static ''plane of the sky'' views, making it extraordinarily challenging to build a 3D physical picture of gas and young stars using 2D integrated quantities. In this talk, I will discuss how new 3D spatial and dynamical constraints from Gaia, in combination with new data science and visualization techniques, have transformed our understanding of star formation near the Sun. In particular, I will show how ''3D dust mapping'' has provided never-before-seen 3D spatial views of the interstellar medium: redefining the structure of the Local Arm of the Milky Way, giving rise to previously undiscovered superbubbles, and constraining the detailed morphologies of individual molecular clouds at 1 pc resolution. Combining 3D dust mapping with the 3D space motions of young stars, I will show how we can reconstruct the star formation history of the solar neighborhood over the past 20 Myr, and in doing so, explain the origin of all nearby star formation as being driven by the expansion of the Local Bubble. I will conclude by discussing new opportunities with Gaia DR3, as well as the implications of our results for the theory and simulation communities.

Past Colloqia Schedules

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