Astrophysics Research Group

The Astrophysics Research Group was created in 1985 to study, both theoretically and observationally, the structure and the dynamical state of star forming regions during the last phase of their evolution. These systems consist of recently formed stars which are still embedded in the remains of the insterstellar cloud from which they were formed. The evolution of a star forming region is governed by the diverse interactions between its components (stars, gas and dust) such as gravitation, accretion, ionization and expulsion of the residual gas from the system.

Knowledge about star forming regions is not only meaningful for its own sake. Like all other regions in the cosmos one can distinguish on the basis of e.g. a specific way in which matter and energy are organized, they constitute gigantic laboratories in which diverse physical and chemical phenomena can be studied under circumstances which cannot be realized on earth. Moreover a more detailed knowledge of their structure will lead to better constraints on theoretical models for the process of star formation itself. Finally, a good understanding of their evolution will eventually explain why some of them end up as groups of relatively young stars of which only the velocities still exhibit some correlation indicating a common origin (associations), whereas in others the stars remain gravitationally bound for a very long time (open clusters).

Nederlandse versie