What We Do

Infrared/submillimeter investigations of protostellar evolution – a cross-disciplinary program including observations from the Herschel, Spitzer, SOFIA, and ALMA observatories modeled with several radiative transfer codes (including LIME and COLT) to study the morphology and chemical properties of young systems. e.g., Yang et al. (2017, 2018);


Understanding episodic accretion – Using mid-infrared photometry (Spitzer, WISE, SOFIA) to discover episodic accretion events and monitor their evolution. e.g., Fischer et al. (2016, 2012)


Spectroscopic characterization of physical conditions in outbursting disks – Using mid-infrared spectroscopy from Spitzer and now SOFIA to monitor the luminosity and chemical evolution of episodic accretion events. e.g., Green et al. (2016, 2013)

  Modeling HI line emission - Kwan & Fischer (2011). A database of line models can be found at http://www.stsci.edu/~wfischer/line_models.html

Calibration of mid-IR lines for use in measuring accretion rates with JWST spectroscopy – JWST will provide an unprecedented opportunity for near to mid-IR spectroscopy of accreting young stars. The luminosities of emission lines in their spectra are proportional to their accretion rates. We are calibrating the proportionality relationships with ground-based spectra.


Mapping interstellar shocks – an observational program to study the impact of jets and outflows on the surrounding molecular cloud with HST, Spitzer, IRTF, and JWST. e.g., Sonnentrucker et al. (2010, 2006); Green et al. (2011)


Complex organic molecules in protostars –  a program to model ALMA observations of various complex organic molecules in the envelopes of protostars. e.g., Yang et al. (2018, subm.)


Chemistry of Protoplanetary Disks around Young Stars – a series of programs to understand the relationship between the system properties and the kinds of materials available to form planets. e.g., Banzatti et al. (2017); Blevins et al. (2016)


The Science of the Origins Space Telescope (OST) https://origins.ipac.caltech.edu/ We are working on a science case for the proposed OST to do far-IR photometric monitoring of several hundred protostars and many more disks. e.g., Pontoppidan et al. (2018)


Contact Us


Email: stsci-spf -at- stsci -dot- edu

3700 San Martin Dr.

Baltimore, MD 21218