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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
Doing Business As Name:University of The Virgin Islands
PD/PI:
  • Jan E Staff
  • (340) 693-1202
  • jan.staff@uvi.edu
Award Date:08/26/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 199,528
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 199,528
  • FY 2019=$199,528
Start Date:09/01/2019
End Date:08/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: RUI: Protostellar jets across the mass spectrum
Federal Award ID Number:1910271
DUNS ID:090003765
Parent DUNS ID:090003765
Program:GALACTIC ASTRONOMY PROGRAM
Program Officer:
  • Glen Langston
  • (703) 292-4937
  • glangsto@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:#2 John Brewers Bay
City:Charlotte Amalie
State:VI
ZIP:00802-6004
County:St Thomas
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of The Virgin Islands
Street:
City:St. Thomas
State:VI
ZIP:00802-6004
County:St Thomas
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Stars, like our Sun, are known to form from clouds of molecular gas in interstellar space. These clouds gradually collapse under the influence of gravity, becoming denser and smaller. As this happens, any initial spin of the cloud is amplified, much like when an ice skater pulls their arms in to spin faster. This occurs because of a phenomenon known as the conservation of angular momentum. However, if material that was to form a star fully conserved its angular momentum, i.e., its degree of spin, then by the time it became as small as a star it would be spinning so quickly that it would no longer be stable and would be flung apart. The answer to this riddle of how stars like our Sun have been able to form, requiring quite low rates of spin, is thought to be related to the phenomenon of "Protostellar Jets", which is the subject of this research. Fast flowing gas, collimated into a pair of jets, is almost always seen when young stars are forming, i.e., when they are "protostars". These jets are thought to be launched from a spinning gas disk that surrounds the growing star because of the action of magnetic fields threading the disk that become wound up by the swirling gas. These magnetic fields are thought to become powerful enough to launch some of the gas from the disk, which carries away angular momentum from material left behind that can then eventually settle on to the star. The remnants of such disks may become systems of planets, like those of our solar system. The investigators seek to understand how stars and planets are born by better understanding how protostellar jets are launched. The investigators will perform computer simulations of protostellar jets understand their properties, including from relatively low-mass stars like our Sun, to much more massive stars that also exist in our Galaxy. The results of these simulations will be compared to observations of protostellar jets made by radio telescopes to test the theoretical simulations. The broader impact plan integrates research with teaching and public outreach activities. At the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) three undergraduates will share in the research projects each year, providing important opportunities for STEM career development for underrepresented groups. This proposal will help strengthen a collaboration between this new research group at UVI and the University of Virginia (UVA). The collaboration plan includes student exchanges between UVI and UVA, expanding the horizons of both groups. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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