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Into the twillight zone: testing jet launching and collimation engines with near-infrared and (sub-)mm interferometry (TWILIGHTZONE)
Start date: May 1, 2009, End date: Aug 31, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The quest for the origin of stars and planets is one of the main thrusts of modern astronomy playing a leading role in the science cases of new instruments and infrastructures, in the ground and space. A major open question in this field is the understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for the launching and collimation of jets and winds from young stars. Such a mechanism is of wide astrophysical significance as it is thought to operate in young stars, AGNs, micro-quasars and gamma-ray bursts. The remarkable combination of larger angular size and line emission make young stars ideal laboratories for such studies. Wind launching has further dramatic consequences on the angular evolution of the star-disk system and radically changes the planet forming disk properties in the inner disk regions where solar system rocky planets and extra-solar hot jupiters are found. The present research programme aims at the career development of the fellow leading to a position of scientific excellence and autonomy after several years of teaching and administrative duties. The programme is highly interdisciplinary, it combines observational predictions of state-of-the-art MHD models using radiative transfer tools with leading front-line observational techniques exploiting synergies in near-infrared and (sub-)mm interferometry. Such a programme anchors on the match of the fellow profile combined with the outstanding training and scientific capacity of the host. In the short term it will allow direct constraints on the launching and collimation mechanism. Lasting impact will be achieved by equipping the fellow with the capacity to lead scientific programmes in top world infrastructures where Europe has a leading role such as the Very Large Telescope Interferometer and the coming ALMA array. Upon returning to its home institute the fellow will be transferring know-how contributing to the excellence and the integration of peripheral countries in the European research area."
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