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LEGUS: The HST Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 12.55.41 PMLEGUS, the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (PI D. Calzetti, J. Lee) has been granted 154 orbits of time on the Hubble Space Telescope to obtain NUV,U,B,V,I imaging for 50 nearby galaxies (closer than about 11 Mpc) that have been carefully selected to span the full range of morphology, star formation rate, stellar mass, metallicity, internal structure, and interaction state found in the local Universe. Project Website.

VFTS: VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey of Massive Stars

Project Website: The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey is a European Southern Observatory (ESO) Large Program, lead by Chris J. Evans (STFC, Edinburgh), which has obtained multi-epoch FLAMES spectroscopy of over 900 stars in the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). 30 Dor is our closest view of a starburst-like region in the local universe, giving us a unique laboratory in which to study stellar and cluster evolution. It’s a rich stellar nursery, with many examples of the rare, short-lived evolutionary phases of the most massive stars.

This Pan European collaborations consists of about 40 members and aims to provide answers to fundamental questions such as the effects that stellar rotation has on the evolution of stars, the binary fraction of massive stars, how binarity affects stellar evolution, and to also study the gas and stellar dynamics in this intricate and beautiful cluster, to provide input for models of star and cluster formation.

HTTP: Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project

Project Website: This project lead by Elena Sabbi (ESA/STScI) is taking advantage of the full power of HST to study the entire Tarantula Nebula in the near Ultra Violet, optical and near Infra Red. The Tarantula Nebula, with its ionizing cluster 30 Doradus, is the nearest starburst in the Local Group, and offers us the rare opportunity to investigate the process of star formation in an environment that resembles in metallicity, dust content, and star formation rate, the extreme conditions of the early universe. The team. 

BinaMIcS : Binarity and Magnetic Interactions in various classes of Stars

From the project website: Magnetic fields are a crucial ingredient in a star’s evolution, influencing its formation, the structure of its atmosphere and interior, as well as controlling the interaction with its environment. For binary stars, magnetism is even more significant, as magnetic fields in binary systems will be strongly affected by, and may also strongly affect, the transfer of energy, mass and angular momentum between the components in these important stellar systems. However, the interplay between stellar magnetic fields and binarity has yet to be investigated in any real detail, from either an observational or theoretical point-of-view. Nevertheless, the incidence and characteristics of magnetic fields are key parameters for understanding the physics of binaries. In higher-mass stars (above 1.5 Msun) the incidence of magnetic stars in binary systems provides a basic constraint on the detailed origin of the magnetic field, assumed to be fossil remnant, and whether such strong magnetic fields suppress binary formation. In low-mass stars, tidal interactions are expected to induce large-scale 3D shear and/or helical flows in stellar interiors that can significantly perturb the stellar dynamo. Similar flows may also influence the fossil magnetic fields of higher-mass stars. Magnetically driven winds/outflows in cool and hot close binary systems have long been suspected to be responsible for their orbital evolution, while magneto-spheric interactions have been proposed to enhance stellar activity. However, the crucial observational constraints required to test these hypotheses are, at present, nearly nonexistent.

The BinaMIcS consists of over 70 scientists in about 40 institutes all over the world. The project is lead by Evelyne Alecian (Medon) and Greg Wade (RMC) has been initiated in 2012 thanks to the allocation of 606 hours of telescope time via a large program on the high-resolution spectropolarimeter ESPaDOnS. Proposals of two large programs have been submitted for the two other similar instruments Narval and HARPSpol. They will complement these observations to increase the sample and diversify our targets.

Using cutting-edge observations, sophisticated theory and realistic simulations, we will observe and model the magnetic fields and the magnetospheric structure and coupling, of both components of hot and cool close binary systems over a significant range of evolutionary stages. Our results will confront current theories and trigger new ones, with the aim of qualitatively improving our understanding of the complex interplay between stellar magnetism and binarity.