This semester we will explore the current frontiers in the formation of stars, brown dwarfs, and planets. High spatial resolution observations from the X-rays through the radio have revealed a wealth of new insights. The focus will be on low mass stars and exoplanets, but will include topics ranging from molecular clouds and the initial mass function to accretion disks and protostars and on to the stability of planetary systems and the long term habitability of exoplanets. We will be biased towards the observational side of things, and will emphasize recent results (e.g., from ALMA, Herschel, and HST/COS).
This is a broad-based general survey of current issues in star and planet formation. Interest in the topic, and a general familiarity with astronomical concepts at the undergraduate level, is required. There are no graduate course prerequisites.