Research in the Galactic Astronomy unit focuses on astrophysical processes in our own Milky Way. It covers topics from planetary atmospheres, through the early evolution of stars and planets, to exoplanets and the late stages of stellar evolution. We study, for example, the physics and chemistry of interstellar and circumstellar matter, and the processes governing the birth and death of stars. We carry out observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, and do theoretical research and magnetohydrodynamical modeling of star-forming gas clouds and stellar outflows. Our work helps to develop the next generation ground and space telescopes. The main motivation of our work is a curiosity about our origins and a drive to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists.
Members of the unit are involved in a number of specific research activities:
Initiative on Cosmic Destinies (CoDe):
The Galactic Astronomy unit is host of one of the largest groups performing observational studies of stars in the late stages of stellar evolution. The aim of this group is to determine the processes involved in the enrichment of the interstellar medium by stellar winds and the shaping of planetary nebulae. This includes the study of dust formation, circumstellar chemistry, magnetic fields and outflow kinematics.
Chalmers Initiative on Cosmic Origins (CICO):
Addressing fundamental questions about the formation of galaxies, stars, planets and life in the Universe, CICO and its counterpart VICO (Virginia Initiative on Cosmic Origins) are an international research collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA. Its research is focused on many aspects of Cosmic Origins Science including, but not limited to, the study of massive and low-mass star formation, outflow launching, magnetic fields, protostellar chemistry and planet formation. Link to the cosmic origins web site.
Exoplanets and the solar system:
The unit is involved in recent and upcoming space telescopes to study exoplanets and their host stars, as well as the atmospheres of exoplanets and solar system moons. Specifically, this concerns the upcoming Plato, Cheops and Ariel exoplanet missions and the JUICE mission to Jupiter.