Thesis Topic: The Formation and Early Evolution of Massive Stars
Thesis Supervisors: Mario van den Ancker
Massive stars drive energetic physical processes that affect the structure of entire galaxies and chemically enrich the interstellar medium. Due to their short lifetime, newly formed massive stars are deeply embedded in dense molecular cloud cores, hampering our view of, and limiting our understanding of, the formation and early evolution of massive stars. However, recent advances in infrared instrumentation on large-aperture ground-based have now made it possible to take huge steps forward in our understanding of the youngest massive stellar populations.
Using data obtained with the SINFONI near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph and the mid-IR imager/spectrograph VISIR (bot at ESO's VLT), this PhD project aims at providing a complete census of high-mass stars in 25 massive star forming regions within our galaxy, and to investigate how the properties of massive stars depend on cluster properties such as cluster mass, chemical composition and age. As a second question, the interaction between the massive stars and their environment will also be investigated in detail.