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Probing the Structure and Dynamics of our Local Interstellar Medium with Gaia

Presentation #302.02 in the session “How Gaia Reveals the Galaxy’s Secrets: From Local to Galactic Scale”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
Probing the Structure and Dynamics of our Local Interstellar Medium with Gaia

Much of our knowledge about the formation of stars comes from observations of our solar neighborhood, less than 2 kpc from the Sun. Before 2018, accurate distance measurements needed to transform the 2D sky into a faithful 3D physical picture of young stars and the interstellar clouds that form them were scarce. The rise of Gaia and large photometric surveys is quickly changing this landscape. I will show how 3D dust maps have received a huge distance resolution boost from Gaia, allowing us to resolve the 3D spatial structure of our local interstellar medium. By combining 3D spatial maps of molecular clouds with the 3D space motions of their recently formed stars, we have the opportunity to probe gas dynamics in 6D across the solar neighborhood. As an example, I will discuss ongoing work to probe the gas dynamics of the recently discovered Radcliffe Wave, a 2.7 kpc long gaseous wave delineating the Local Arm of the Galaxy.


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