Areas of expertise
Our faculty are available to comment on topics related to areas of interest or expertise. If you need further assistance, call Media Relations at 970-247-6073 or email Media Relations.
It is becoming more clear as observations push toward glimpsing the earliest stages of star formation, that stars form in systems of two (or more) objects. Either during the initial collapse of the cloud where several fragments may coalesce ultimately into stars, or later during a collapse of the gaseous circumstellar disc (itself a ubiquitous feature of star formation) of the forming star, a companion star - or even a planetary-mass object - can form. At present, I study a particular class of these young (a half to a few million years old), low-mass (about half the mass of the Sun down to a few Jupiter masses) binary stars in formation. This class has separation between the members that is roughly 100 - 1000 au (astronomical units). This is interesting range because this separation tends to be a bit larger than the typical circumstellar disc, yet much smaller than typical initial cloud sizes. This begs the question, how did these objects form? Using low-resolution, near-infrared spectroscopy, we try to estimate the masses of these objects, as it is the mass that is the main parameter that suggests the mode of formation. Ultimately, my interests lie in theoretical astrophysical problems, especially in gas dynamics or accretion disc physics. Any undergraduate researchers that would be interested in such problems, please feel free to stop by.