The Interstellar Medium Group at Space Telescope Science Institute 

The Interstellar Medium* Group at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is a collaboration between STScI research staff, associated external collaborators, and the students and postdocs with whom they work. We meet weekly, pool resources and expertise, and collaborate on research projects. We focus on interstellar, circumstellar, and circumgalactic media, mainly in nearby galaxies. But our interests are diverse and we often use stars and stellar populations in our analyses; hence the *. We hang out on the West 4th floor of the Rotunda.

Nearby Galaxies as Laboratories

The overall focus of the ISM*@ST group is the study of nearby galaxies (including the Milky Way) as laboratories for the physical processes of the ISM, star formation, stellar feedback, and galaxy evolution. We are broad in our approach: we use wavelengths from radio to ultraviolet, spectroscopy and imaging, bayesian inference and deep learning, targeted observations and archival studies. The following are some areas of specific scientific focus:

Lifecycle of Metals

We study the life-cycle of dust and metals in nearby galaxies, from the stars to the interstellar medium (ISM) via stellar winds, within the ISM between the dust and gas phases, and between the ISM and the circumgalactic medium (CGM) via galactic outflows. Components of this research path include:

ISM Structure

We study the multi-dimensional structure of gas and dust in the nearby ISM using observational and statistical tools. Topics of interest include:

Dust Properties

We investigate the size, shape, composition, and alignment of interstellar dust grains using a range of observations that are interpreted with a rich set of models.

A selection of the observations we pursue include:

These observations are measured and interpreted with a range of models including:

Star Formation & Stellar Populations

We study the different stages of star formation  in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, from molecular clouds, to young stellar objects (YSOs), to the UV emission from young massive stars.  In particular, studying star formation in nearby galaxies allows us to study the effects of metallicity on the star formation process.

Our goals are to understand: