NGC 6231

Michael Kuhn



440 Davey Labs
University Park, PA 16802
Telephone: (814) 367-3648
e-mail: mkuhn1 (at)

[Publications via NASA ADS] [Teaching] [CV]

I am interested in the formation of stars and young stellar clusters. For my PhD thesis work under the supervision of Dr. Getman and Dr. Feigelson, I use multiwavelength infrared and X-ray observations to investigate stellar populations of Galactic star-forming regions. I am particularly interested in spatial distributions of young stars in these regions, which can tell us about star formation and dynamical evolution of the cluster. I have been working in collaboration with Statistitian Dr. Adrian Baddeley at the CSIRO in Perth, Australia, on adapting modern spatial statistical methods to the problem of young stellar clusters.

Projects I am involved with:

MYSTIX: Massive Young star-formation complex STudy in Infrared and X-ray

(Co-PIs Feigelson & Townsley)

Adaptively smoothed maps of young stars in the different regions.

MYStIX is a study of 20 of the most massive star-forming regions within 3.6 kpc of the solar system, which has yielded a catalog of >30,000 young stars -- including some of the largest and cleanest samples of cluster members for many of these regions. Catalog papers and science results are listed at the MYStIX public website (

Science Papers:
The Spatial Structure of Young Stellar Clusters: Paper 1

AAS 2014 poster link:

Preliminary results presented at the "Labyrinth of Star Formation" conference in Crete, Greece: Proceedings paper

IC 5146 (= Cocoon Nebula)

(Co-PIs Feigelson & Townsley)

IRAC 3.6, 5.8, 8.0 micron image of IC 5146.

We are obtaining Chandra X-ray and UKIDSS NIR observations of the young stellar cluster at the end of the IC 5146 molecular cloud (d=900 pc). The bubble is powered by a B star, and is nearly circular with the young cluster at its center.

The Young Stellar Cluster in W40


Westerhout 40 is one of the nearest massive-star-forming regions in the galaxy. The cluster of about 600 young stars in W40 shows signs of being dynamically relaxed, including mass segregation, even though the it is likely to be less than 1 Myr old and to have ongoing star formation.

In the image (left) the Chandra sources in blue reveal the young stellar objects within the figure-eight shaped nebula seen by MSX.