Project A

Zooming into the environment around young protostars 

Pooneh Nazari

(email advisor)

This project aims to use private and/or archival Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) data and map the emitting regions from three molecules, CH3CN, CH3OH, and NH2CHO. These molecules are observed abundantly around young protostars, where planet formation starts, and are thought to be the building blocks of larger molecules that are necessary for life. Therefore, it is important to understand the chemical formation pathways of these molecules. However, so far, most observations of young protostellar systems have had low angular resolution (i.e., the observations could not resolve the structure that these molecules trace). Therefore, it is not clear if these molecules trace the same regions as each other. From laboratory data, we expect different emitting regions, and modelling works show that if these molecules trace different regions, our chemical interpretations of formation scenarios for the above molecules will be affected. This project aims to understand the emitting structures of CH3CN, CH3OH, and NH2CHO and search for similarities and differences among them. 

For this project, the student is invited to start with the data of 2 well-known young protostellar systems. They will use CARTA and CASA (tools for imaging and spectral analysis) to make maps of the emitting regions of CH3CN, CH3OH, and NH2CHO and search for differences and similarities among them. Once this step is finished, if time allows, the student can dive deeper into making temperature and density maps of the targeted molecules around the two objects or decide to search the ALMA archive for more objects with high angular resolution data to increase the sample size. Depending on the student’s interest and progress, this project can be published.

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