The Rise of the Milky Way: Mapping the Solar Neighborhood with Gaia


The project calls for a creative and motivated student that is interested in observational astronomy. The project will use mainly ESA Gaia data but also VISIONS data to build the most accurate 3D map of the local neighborhood (1 kpc).

The main research topics the project touches include:

  • 3D distribution of the star-forming ISM and the Milky Way context
  • Molecular cloud formation and evolution
  • A reliable look into the CMF/IMF relation and assert on the origin of the IMF
  • Resolved Kennicutt-Schmidt relation (down to 0.1 pc)
  • Proper motions of embedded objects and young stars
  • YSO identification, characterization, and precise evolutionary sequence
  • Dust properties and reddening law variations
  • Cluster formation and evolution
  • The IMF down to the brown-dwarf/planet regime
  • Wide binaries
  • Jets and outflows
  • Effects of young stars on protoplanetary disks

The project calls for a broad range of skills and methods. A basic knowledge of galactic dynamics, good programming skills, and an appetite for 3D data visualization are required. The student will be fully involved in the research work, as a research partner, and in the writing of refereed papers. A creative student on a well-defined topic can bring a new set of eyes and brain and help push the project toward its goals. The student will be taken as an apprentice and a partner in the exploration of the Gaia and ESO data and will acquire the latest know-how on manipulating and interpreting space and ground-based data.

Tasks may include large data analysis (supervised/unsupervised), development and implementation of visualization ideas, space and ground-based astrometry, literature search, and paper writing.