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SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, September 19
7:30 pm

Star Formation In the Snake's Tail


Professor Bruce Wilking
University of Missouri - Saint Louis
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Stars are being born even today in our Milky Way galaxy. Star formation is very difficult to observe, because the stars are formed deep inside giant clouds of dust and gas. The molecular cloud of Serpens Cauda, the constellation of the Snake?s Tail, is one of the closest of these star-forming regions to the Sun. Astronomers at UMSL, using instruments such as the Spitzer Space Telescope, are able to look through this cloud?s dusty outer layers. They are able to identify and study the ages and properties of some of these very young stars. Dr. Wilking will discuss the preliminary results of this study, and comment on the star formation history of this region.

Dr. Wilking is the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri ? Saint Louis. His research interests include star formation and also the study of very small sub-stars called brown dwarfs. He has participated in proposals for telescope observing time at a number of facilities, including the Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Key, Hawaii, the NRAO 12-meter telescope, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

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