StarFormMapper: First Year Review at Brussels


It has been a year already since the Kick of Meeting at Cardiff of the H2020 StarFormMapper (SFM) project. We just had on the 14th of July 2017 the first year review meeting at the EC headquarters in Brussels.


From left to Right: Jesús Salgado (Quasar Science Resources), Paul Clark (Cardiff University), Estelle Moraux (Université Grenoble Alpes), Patricia Grant (Leeds University, Project Manager) and Stuart Lumsden (Leeds University, PI).


The first reporting period has seen the initial steps towards creating merged catalogues of point sources as seen at wavelengths from optical through sub-mm, and in particular paying attention to the properties of the sources that will be visible in Gaia DR2 and the point sources showing the location of the young stars from Herschel. This in itself will offer a unique perspective on how star formation evolves throughout a region.  Novel statistical tools are also currently being tested in the area both of detecting sub-clusters and in assessing how clustered a particular source is.

The first Gaia Data Release (DR1) was made late in 2016. DR1 contains no parallaxes or proper motions, and the Gaia-Tycho catalogue which was published at the same time simply lacks sufficient data for our distant embedded sources. However we have made a full census of the published Gaia detections to derive the properties of those stars at other wavelengths. We have also chosen NGC 2264 as our initial “test” cluster, since it has more currently available additional data than any other massive star forming cluster. It also has the benefit of being nearby, so even with only one year of full Gaia data we should start to have a comprehensive map of the stellar component. This cluster also has full Herschel data (and we have derived a catalogue of Herschel point sources for further study of the youngest component of the stellar population), is a (completed) target for the Gaia-ESO radial velocity survey, and has a published molecular gas map at appropriate spatial resolution for the whole region.


NGC2264 (Image Credit: Rolf Geissinger, Astronomy Picture of the Day –


The simulations produced for the project also present a suite of which any one would be state of the art but where care is taken to ensure a consistency between the various modelling techniques (eg MHD, N-body+gas, N-body stellar only) that is novel.


Computer simulation of young Stellar Cluster.  The cloud in which stars form has an age of  around 3.000.000 years, and the stars that can be seen have an age of around 300.000 years. During this period of time only around 15 stars have been formed (bright dots in the image). The cluster has a diameter of around  4,73E+14 Km.


The environment being setup in order to present our final results also pushes techniques from software engineering into areas of pure research in a fashion that has previously only been seen in more technical aspects of scientific research. The wider socio-economic impact will only become clearer as the project evolves, since much of the outreach and dissemination (and IPR if any) will follow on in the following two reporting periods.

The next period will see the release of GAIA DR 2, a significant imporvement on DR 1 and the start of the “production phase” of the project when new scientific results will emerge.

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