Second Century Initiative Fellow Redefines Stargazing
Second Century Initiative (2CI) Fellow Alexandra Yep is researching the formation of young stars in the Gum Nebula, an emission nebula that extends across the southern constellations. Southern constellations reside south of the equator and can be better seen from the southern hemisphere. According to Yep, the formation of these stars is specifically interesting because unlike most stars, these stars formed with the help of an external force: other stars.
“Whereas a lot of stars form from just a huge clump of gas and dust, these stars formed in a smaller clump with the help of external energy coming in from some nearby hot stars. These hot stars shined on these clumps of gas, producing a high radiation environment that helped them collapse into stars,” said Yep. “We’re interested in seeing if the stars formed in this high radiation environment would look any different from the stars formed in this typical, gravity based, big cloud of gas and dust.”
After she earns her Ph.D., Yep says she would love to teach astronomy and conduct more research. She says the financial assistance of the 2CI has helped her tremendously.