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Telescope to Help Tell the Story of the Universe
GMACS - Moderate Dispersion Optical Spectrograph for the Giant Magellan Telescope is a powerful optical spectrograph that will unlock the power of the Giant Magellan Telescope for research ranging from the formation of stars and planets to cosmology.
Coordinated Molecular Probe Line Extinction Thermal Emission (COMPLETE) Survey of Star Forming Regions
Star formation is a complex process, beginning from cold clouds of gas and dust and ending with the diverse population of stars we observe in our galaxy and beyond. Studying that process requires many different types of astronomical observations to capture the composition, dynamics, and other properties of star-forming regions. While most researchers focus on certain aspects of these systems, the COordinated Molecular Probe Line Extinction Thermal Emission (COMPLETE) Survey of Star Forming Regions was an ambitious project designed to capture as much information as possible, using data from multiple observatories to accomplish the task. During the survey’s data-collecting period, each of these observatories provided a different type of observation on three star-forming regions in the Milky Way, across the infrared, microwave, and radio part of the spectrum of light. COMPLETE was a collaboration between astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and other universities around the world.
Gould's Belt Survey
Gould’s Belt is a long chain of clouds in the Milky Way comprised of stellar nurseries and hot young stars. Stretching across a substantial part of the night sky, Gould’s Belt includes the Orion Nebula — the middle object in Orion’s “sword” — and a number of other star-forming regions. These regions are opaque in visible light, so the Spitzer Gould’s Belt Survey project used NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope, the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii to map the region in infrared and submillimeter light. The survey was led by scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, in collaboration with a number of other institutions around the world. Since the completion of observations in 2006, the data has continued to supply astronomers with insights into the formation of new stars in the Milky Way.
The Cygnus-X Spitzer Legacy Survey
The Cygnus-X region of the Milky Way is a veritable factory for making new stars, including a large number of giant hot stars. The Cygnus-X Spitzer Legacy Survey is dedicated to studying how these giant stars formed, and how they affect the growth of smaller stars in their vicinity. Led by researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, this survey used NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope to identify and track the course of star formation in Cygnus-X in multiple wavelengths of infrared light. Though the observational portion of the survey is over, researchers at CfA and many other institutions continue to generate new astronomical insights from its data.
Star-forming regions are sources of intense radiation, from radio waves to X-rays. The ANCHORS (AN archive of CHandra Observations of Regions of Star formation) database documents over 10,000 X-ray sources in these regions of space, collected in the early 2000s by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This archive is managed by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. ANCHORS is designed to be easy to use, allowing for sorting of data through a simple online interface.