Département de physique
Université de Montréal
C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville
Canada H3C 3J7
Research field: Stellar formation; young stars; instrumentation; polarimetry.
Description of the research project:
Pierre Bastien's research focuses on the formation of stars and planetary systems. This is one of the priority research areas identified by the Canadian astronomical community. Stars and planetary systems are formed in the interstellar medium from clouds of gas and dust. Light from a newly-formed star is scattered and polarized by microscopic dust grains. By measuring this polarization, one can find out about the properties of the grains and the general circumstellar environment. Combining this with other observations and with modelling, we learn about conditions in protoplanetary disks where planets are formed. In order to understand the role of magnetic fields in molecular clouds and in the processes of star formation, Pierre Bastien participated in the construction of a polarimeter for the James-Clerk-Maxwell submillimeter radio telescope, in Hawaii. He also steered the construction of a new polarimeter, POMM, a hundred times more precise than the one used previously at the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic.