NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0439

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0439


PI: Charles Lada, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, clada@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: RG, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Elizabeth Lada, University of Florida
CoI: Joao Alves, University of Vienna
CoI: Krista Romita, University of Florida
CoI: Kelsey Jorgenson, University of Florida
CoI: Carlos Roman-Zuniga, UNAM- Ensenada
CoI: Stefan Meingast, University of Vienna
CoI: Herve Bouy, Center for Astrobiology of Madrid

Title: Deep NIR Imaging Surveys of the Nearest GMCs: Determining the Factors that Control the Star Formation Rates in Dense Gas

Abstract: We propose to carry out complete, deep NIR imaging surveys of the high extinction (A_V > 5 mag.), regions of the two nearest giant molecular clouds (GMCs) to Earth. Though at a similar distance (400 pc) and of similar mass (10^5 M_\odot) and size, these two clouds are characterized by star formation rates (SFRs) that differ by an order of magnitude. The primary goal of this NEWFIRM study is to construct sensitive, high resolution infrared extinction maps of these clouds to make robust measurements of their masses and mass distributions. This data will be used to construct mass functions of the dense core populations and will be combined with surveys for YSOs made by the Spitzer, Wise and Herschel space observatories and molecular-line observations of the gas made with ground-based radio telescopes in an attempt to determine the physical conditions that control the rate of conversion of the molecular gas mass into stars. Understanding this process is critical to developing predictive theories of both star formation and galaxy evolution.


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