Bulletin of the Eastbay Astronomical Society
Founded in 1924 at Chabot Observatory, Oakland, California
Volume 77, Number 6, February 2001
The Youngest Sun-like Stars:
An Infrared Perspective
Dr. Tom Green
NASA/Ames Research Scientist
Saturday, 3 February, 2001
General Meeting 7:31 p.m.
Lecture 8:20 p.m.
Astronomy Classroom, 2nd Level, Spees Building
Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland, California
We shouldn't take
the Universe for granted - our planet and home star haven't always been
here. The oldest stars in our galaxy are about 13 billion years old, while
the Sun and the rest of the solar system formed only about 5 billion years
ago. Since the Sun and planets formed much later than the earliest stars,
could stars like the sun and planets like the Earth still be forming today?
Observing them now can give us clues as to how our own solar system formed.
Stars like the sun form in dusty clouds of gas that are opaque to visible
light, so they have been difficult to observe with traditional photographic
plates and CCD cameras. However, infrared detector array technology has
grown tremendously over the past couple of decades, allowing unprecedented
sensitive observations of young stars still forming in their dusty cocoons.
When combined with modern star formation theories, infrared observations
from spacecraft and ground-based telescopes have recently revealed unprecedented
details about the physical properties of young stars and their pre-planet-forming
circumstellar disks. In particular, infrared spectra are now yielding some
of the most sought-after details of young stars and their evolutionary
processes. I will describe this progression of knowledge, including sharing
some of my recent observations with the Keck and other large telescopes.
Dr. Greene conducted his
Ph.D. research under the direction of Erick Young at the University of
Arizona. As a student he built a simple near-infrared camera and completed
an IR imaging survey of the nearby r Ophiuchi star forming dark cloud.
He was a postdoc in the Astrophysics branch of the NASA Ames Research center
where he helped develop the HIFOGS mid-IR spectrometer for the KAO. After
this postdoc, he joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii as a support
astronomer for the 3.0 m NASA IRTF telescope and the project scientist
for its Cryogenic Echelle Spectrograph (CSHELL). Greene went on to become
the Deputy Division Chief and then the Division Chief (Director) of the
IRTF before becoming a staff scientist at Lockheed Martin. Since then he
has been the Chief of the Astrophysics Branch and an active researcher
at Ames Research Center.
DINNER WITH THE SPEAKER
5:27 pm, Saturday, 3 February 2001
PEARL OF SIAM RESTAURANT
5498 College Avenue, Oakland (510) 420-8600
Please call Betty Neall at 510/533-2394 by Friday, 5 January to confirm
your place. Note the time has been advanced to allow everyone to be able
to get to the meeting promptly at 7:31 pm.
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