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Star and Planet Formation (SPF) at STScI

NGC 2264 in the Infrared
Newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust, are revealed in this image of a section of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/P.S. Teixeira (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA).

Through experimentation with space, air, and ground-based telescopes, we strive to understand the process that changes a collapsing cloud of gas and dust into a star and planetary system… and what happens to the material that comprises it. We're interested in questions such as:

  • How do star and planetary systems form and evolve?
  • How do clouds convert their mass to star-forming cores?
  • How are jets and outflows formed, and what impact do they have on the surrounding material?
  • How do we understand the spectral signatures of kinematics, chemistry, and variability in young stellar regions?
  • What technologies and science instruments do we need in able to detect study the gas, dust, and ice from protoplanetary systems and star forming regions?

Our group has led observational programs on numerous missions and telescopes, including several pioneers of infrared astronomy and instrument development, including ISO, Spitzer, Herschel, and several ground-based facilities. Our group includes over a dozen active programs with HST and JWST, as well as other state-of-the-art facilities including SOFIA, Gemini, VLT, ALMA, VLA, and others.

Group members have a wide variety of roles in the HST, JWST, Roman, and future infrared missions, preparing to operate or define requirements for these telescopes. We also operate a state-of-the-art optics lab where we are developing new wavefront control methods for ultra-high-contrast imaging with future large segmented space telescopes.

Website: Star and Planet Formation at STScI

Leads: Nicole Arulanantham, Joel Green

Members: Munazza AlamTracy Beck, Sarah Betti, Christine Chen, Mario Gennaro, Julien Girard, Nick IndrioloAlex Lockwood, Adrian Lucy, Elena ManjavacasJames Muzerolle, Tyler Pauly, Jamila PeguesMassimo Robberto, Beth Sargent, Paule Sonnetrucker

Research Topics:

  • Astrochemistry
  • Chemical Abundances
  • Star and Planet Formation
  • Young Stellar Objects
  • Interstellar Ices
  • Scientific Software
  • Circumstellar Disks
  • Dust
  • Instrumentation
  • Star Formation Histories
  • Astrobiology
  • Interstellar Medium
  • Bayesian Analysis
  • Machine Learning
  • Multiple Star Systems
  • T Tauri stars
  • Jets and outflows
  • Outreach

Seminars/Journal Club: SPF group meeting, ESPF Series

Related Missions & Instruments: HSTJWST, ALMA, SOFIA, Gemini, VLT, VLA, Keck

Selected Publications: SPF Publication List