Star formation

Multi-wavelength studies of star forming regions

The group studies star forming regions with a multi-wavelength approach, including proto-planetary disks and episodic accretion. The group has expertise in X-ray, millimeter, and infrared observations of star forming regions.

The group has grown again with a postdoc, Dr Julia Roquette, thanks to FP8 SPACE2020 project NEMESIS (grant agreement No. 101004141) which started in March 2021, in collaboration with Dr Odysseas Dionatos at the University of Vienna and Dr Gabor Marton at Konkoly Observatory. NEMESIS has the ambition to reshape our understanding on the formation of stars by employing artificial intelligence methods to interpret the largest, panchromatic data collection of young stellar objects. As spin-off of this project, the ISSI team "Revisiting Star Formation in the Era of Big Data" gathers additional experts in star formation, machine learning, statistics, and astro-informatics. 

Dr Audard works in the Gaia CU7 team as DPAC member (he's the CU7 Deputy Manager since 2023) and in the SKA CH project. He is furthermore Science Co-I of ATHENA/X-IFU (including the X-CAT) and member of the Science team for XRISM. He also coordinates the AHEAD 2020 TNA for Computational Astrophysics, and the Geneva involvement in the TNA for data analysis. 

He has worked on ASTRO-H/HITOMI before its demise in 2016. He was active in promoting the SPICA project, which was selected for Phase A studies for the ESA M5 candidate mission but was abruptly removed from competition in late 2020. Further opportunities as cooperation between Europe and the USA are being investigated to launch an infrared astrophysics probe as part of the US Decadal Survey recommendations.

Finally, he is also part-time Executive Secretary of the European Astronomical Society. He is the Vice-President of the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy since 2020. He also represents Switzerland in the Board of Directors of the Journal Astronomy & Astrophysics since July 2022 and is part of the Executive Committee since June 2023.

The group was initially funded funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grants No. PP002-110504) from 2006 to 2011. Dr. Marc Audard was recipient of a Swiss NSF Professorship at the University of Geneva, in the Department of Astronomy

Carla Baldovin Saavedra did her PhD (High energy processes in young stars and the effect of EUV/X-ray irradiation in proto-planetary disks) under the supervision of Dr. Marc Audard from March 2007 to July 2011 (with a short postdoc stay until June 2012). She had a postdoc position in Vienna, Austria then moved to the Netherlands as Policy Officer and Project Manager for LOFAR. More details on Linkedin.

Dr Andrés Carmona stayed as postdoc from October 2007 to November 2011. His research focussed on gas emission in protoplanetary disks, mainly using ground-based facilities in the infrared. He moved to several postdoc positions. More details on Linkedin.

Dr Francesco Fontani also joined the group in July 2008 from the INAF Radioastronomy group in Bologna but moved a year later for an ALMA fellowship at IRAM, France. His expertise in millimeter astronomy and massive star formation allowed the group to gain further experience in these fields. He is now staff astronomer in Arcetri, Italy, see his page.

From 2013 to 2019, the group participated in the the STARFORM project to study star formation from the near to far Universe. The STARFORM project gathered several galactic and extragalactic star formation groups in Switzerland to study star formation from the Milky Way to the distant Universe, both observationally and computationally.

Dr Yuan Wang joined STARFORM from 2013 to 2015 to study massive star forming regions using millimeter single-dish and interferometric telescopes. After another postdoc in Germany, Yuan moved to industry.

Gözde Saral then was hired as PhD student on the project, she graduated in 2019 (From infrared dark clouds to massive young stars: Spitzer and MALT90 studies of massive star forming regions) and is now data scientist in sustainability.

The group obtained a SNF-FWF Lead Agency together with Dr Eduard Vorobyov at the University of Vienna on the topic of episodic accretion, linking observations, numerical simulations, and thermochemical modeling.

Andreas Postel was hired as PhD student and obtained his PhD thesis in 2020 (Episodic accretion: a study of gas emission lines in eruptive young stars).