Spectral Surveys | Advisor: Ted Bergin
PhD Research: Nathan Crockett is using millimeter and sub-millimeter spectral observations to study the chemical composition of star-forming clouds. He is currently leading a 15-person team in analyzing data from Herschel’s HIFI instrument on the Orion Kleinmann-Low Nebula. He is identifying the types and quantities of molecules present, which serve as valuable tracers of the dynamics, temperature, and density of gas in the cloud. In particular, novel observations of highly exited emission from hydrogen sulfide have shown that it is a key marker of the intensity of the local radiation field. He hopes his findings will help constrain models of molecule formation in the interstellar medium, and that the unique analysis techniques he and his advisor have implemented will be applicable to other high-density, large-bandwidth spectral data sets, like those from ALMA.
Why Michigan Astronomy?
Expertise & Training: “My advisor, Ted, is one of the leading experts in astrochemistry. He had access to this Herschel HIFI data well before it became public, and we’ve been able to develop expertise in analyzing it. And it’s not simple – we have some 60 molecules and 20,000 emission lines – but he supported me in going to the Netherlands for six weeks to learn how to reduce and analyze the data. As a result, we’ve been able to put into practice a lot of techniques that haven’t been used before.”