HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Ann Esin

Harvey Mudd College

The Early Lives of Sun-Like Stars

Sept. 22, 2009

The study of star formation is currently one of the most active areas of astrophysics, partly due to its connection with the origin of planetary systems. Because young proto-stars tend to be heavily embedded in gas and dust clouds, detailed imaging of these objects during early critical stages of evolution is very difficult, which makes testing theoretical models of stellar formation problematic. Fortunately, several properties of young stars, as they emerge into visibility, carry a lot of information about their early evolution. Of particular importance is stellar rotational period, since it provides us with clues about the angular momentum evolution of a proto-star, which is the key to understanding star formation. I will discuss how these periods can be measured and what the observed period distributions tell us about the early lives of stars.