Mapping Star-Formation in the Milky Way
Center for Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics, UNAM
In the last few years, it has become possible to measure the distance and the velocity vector of young stars located within 500 pc of the Sun with an accuracy of order 1% using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) techniques. This represents an improvement by more than 1 order of magnitude over what was previously possible, and opens the door to some extremely high accuracy astrophysics. In particular, theoretical pre-main sequence stellar evolutionary models can now be confronted with very accurate observational constraints. The space distribution, and the internal structure and kinematics of star-forming regions, can also be investigated in unprecedented detail. This has important consequences both for star formation and for Galactic structure studies. In this talk, I will review these recent results, and explore their consequences. I will also present future perspectives and, in particular, describe two very large VLBI projects currently underway that promise to change our understanding of Galactic star formation. I will finish my talk by showing how the high accuracy of VLBI observations allow the direct measurement of the proper motion of extragalactic objects. In particular, the relative motion between our Galaxy and its nearest large neighbor M31 should become known within about 5 years.
Date: Monday, 16 May 2011 Time: 12:00 Where: Université Laval Pavillon Alexandre-Vachon, local 1661 Contact: Serge Pinault