Siegel der Universität

Universität zu Köln
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

Large scale mapping projects

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An important research effort in A1 is dedicated to understanding the physical processes governing the large scale structure of the ISM by statistical analysis of the observed data and the comparison with numerical models. We conduct large scale mapping observations in various spectral lines (e.g., low-, mid-J CO, fine structure lines of atomic carbon) using the KOSMA 3m, FCRAO, SEST, AST/RO, and MOPRA telescopes. In parallel, we develop statistical tools to characterize the observed turbulent structure allowing a direct comparison with turbulent simulations.

Our observations cover clouds with a wide range of physical properties from nearby high mass star forming regions to the closest low mass star forming clouds. In the future, we will extend our large scale mapping efforts to the Southern sky using the NANTEN2 telescope. The large scale mapping projects are important preparatory work for upcoming missions such as SOFIA and HIFI/Herschel.

The key questions to be addressed are:

  1. What are the structure, dynamics, energy balance, and chemistry of the clouds?
  2. What are the characteristic scales of turbulence in the interstellar medium?
  3. Are there differences between low and high mass star forming clouds?

Nearby clouds

We conduct large scale surveys of nearby molecular clouds in Perseus, Cepheus, Serpens, Ophiuchus, Chamaeleon, and Lupus in low- and mid-J CO transitions and atomic carbon using KOSMA and, in the future, NANTEN2. More.

Cygnus X

Cygnus X is one of the most active and closest regions of massive star formation in the Galaxy. As part of an international collaboration to obtain a complete census of gas and star forming cores, we perform large scale observations using the KOSMA and FCRAO telescopes. More.


We have initiated a program to study the molecular cloud complex associated with the southern H II region RCW 106 using the SEST and MOPRA telescopes. More.