The 3D space motion of the local Interstellar Medium

Supervisor: João Alves* in collaboration with Stefan Meingast, Alvaro Hacar (Dept. of Astrophysics), Hervé Bouy (University of Bordeaux), Catherine Zucker and Alyssa Goodman, (Harvard University)

Funding Situation: supervisor has secured funding

Project outline: At the heart of this project lies one fundamental ISM measurement yet to be made: the measurement of the local gas’s 3D space motion. Knowing how gas moves in 3D space is to know its past and future path in the Galaxy, its momentum, and the forces acting on it and will represent a fundamental breakthrough in Interstellar Medium research. To achieve this, the PhD student will work with data from the ESA Gaia mission and the ESO VISIONS Public Survey, led by our group ( and will be part of a young, exploration-driven, and supportive group. The PhD candidate will become a crucial member of an ongoing collaboration with Harvard University.

This PhD project, connected with the project “A paradigm change in the making: the origin and evolution of the Radcliffe Wave”, seizes this opportunity and addresses the following general questions:

  • What is the origin and motion of Galactic-scale gas structures such as the Radcliffe Wave?
  • How do star-forming regions form and disperse inside them?
  • Has the Solar System interacted with the Radcliffe Wave?

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a good background in Physics and Math, and with good coding skills.