Our home Galaxy, the Milky Way, is our closest laboratory for studying physical processes that occur throughout the Universe. Submillimeter observations of the cool, dense gas and dust in our Milky Way provide insights on universal processes including how stars form in both ‘regular’ and ‘extreme’ environments and how gas is organized on galactic scales. On a tour through our Milky Way Laboratory, I will discuss 1) how we can use dense, filamentary molecular clouds, potential “Bones of the Milky Way,” to trace our Galaxy’s spiral structure, and 2) how observing our extreme, turbulent Galactic Center (the Central Molecular Zone) can help us learn more about how gas is converted into stars during the peak epoch of cosmic star formation. I will also briefly discuss the Origins Space Telescope, a NASA mission concept study for the 2020 Decadal survey, opening up about 3 orders of magnitude of discovery space on science from first stars to life.
Host: Ian Crossfield