Ithaca College faculty and students are studying the chemistry and evolution of proto-stellar and proto-planetary objects. We are a member of a team using the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope to gather infrared spectra of dust and gas orbiting stars other than the sun. Professor Luke Keller and his students reduce spectra from Spitzer Space Telescope, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, Hubble Space Telescope, and other data archives and analyze the results, looking for atomic and molecular signatures of material orbiting sound stars that may be forming planets. They also use ground-based observatories to gather spectra and images of these objects. Their current focus is on Herbig AeBe stars, a class of stars that are several times more massive than the sun and show evidence of disks of gas and dust orbiting them.

Members of the Team