The outflows of young and old stars play a crucial role in the cycle of matter in galaxies. Stars and planetary systems are formed through complex physical processes during the collapse of gas clouds with outflows a required ingredient. At the end of a stars life, stellar outflows are the main source of heavy elements that are essential for the formation of stars, planets and life. Magnetic fields are one of the key factors governing the in particular the often observed collimated outflow. They might also be a key ingredient in driving stellar mass loss and are potentially essential for stabilizing accretion disks of, in particular, massive proto-stars. Only polarization observations at different spatial scales are able to measure the strength and structure of magnetic fields during the launching of outflows from young and old stars. Because stars in these evolutionary phases are highly obscured by dusty envelopes, their magnetic fields are best probed through observations of molecules and dust at submillimeter and radio wavelengths. In addition to its role, the origin of the magnetic field in these stellar phases is also still unknown and to determine it multi-wavelength observations are essential. The proposed research group will use state of the art submillimeter and radio instruments, integrated with self-consistent radiative transfer and magneto-hydrodynamic models, to examine the role and origin of magnetic fields during star formation and in the outflows from evolved stars. The group will search for planets around evolved stars to answer the elusive question on the origin of their magnetic field and determine the connection between the galactic magnetic field and that responsible for the formation of jets and potentially disks around young proto-stars. This fundamental new work, for which a dedicated research group is essential, will reveal the importance of magnetism during star formation as well as in driving and shaping the mass loss of evolved stars.
Professor vid Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics
Funding years 2014–2019