Research course

Star Formation

Open University · School of Physical Sciences

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 degree in physics or a related subject (or equivalent).

Months of entry

February, October

Course content

This observationally focused topic examines the formation of massive stars in our galaxy. The formation of massive young stars is often triggered by ionised gas regions that expand into their surrounding gas and molecular clouds, ‘triggering’ a next generation of stars. Alternatively, in a less violent way following the collapse of gas and small solid particles of dust, the material in the galaxy that is available to form stars condenses into filaments that fragment and collapse under their self-gravity to form low mass stars. Using powerful telescopes on Earth and in space, observational research in this area is aimed at measuring the structure, energy balance and chemistry in the diffuse/dense interface, measuring the distributions of the material that stars are born into, and measuring the detailed microphysics of how they self-assemble to form the next generation(s) of stars and planetary systems. These observations will be made using the world’s leading far-infrared and submillimetre wavelength telescopes, such as the European Space Agency’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes, the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) in Chile, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, and the pan-European LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) telescopes.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
      part time
      24 months
      • PhD
        full time
        36 months
          part time
          72 months

          Course contact details

          Administrative Support

          +44 (0)1908 858253