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Astronomy Seminar Series artwork
February 27, 202311:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)



Erin Cox (Northwestern University)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Stars form in the hearts of molecular clouds, collapsing over 10 orders in spatial magnitude. This collapse is dominated by gravity, turbulence, magnetic fields, and stellar feedback. While gravity ultimately wins, these other dynamical effects can either hinder or aid the collapse at various scales. The initial conditions of the earliest evolutionary phase of a protostar are essential in constraining the architecture of the stellar system (e.g., the number of stars that will form or the mass budget for planets). Arguably the magnetic field is one of the more difficult dynamical effects to constrain observationally. In this talk, I will present new research showing multi-wavelength polarization observations that probe the multi-scale magnetic field morphology of a young stellar system in an isolated Bok globule where we believe the collapse is magnetically regulated. I will show how the observed magnetic field signature of the protostellar envelope may provide a new way to probe binary star formation. Since most stars form in multiple systems, understanding the system's formation is crucial in understanding how the protostar and its planets evolve. I will also present how we can use high-resolution polarization observations to probe grain size, and thus the seeds of protoplanets, in these young protostars.

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