Interstellar Medium

Interstellar Medium, Photodissociation regions and Far-Infrared Astrophysics


Dr. Javier R. Goicoechea (research line leader), Dr. Sara Cuadrado and Miriam G. Santa-María

Research line briefing: this research line addresses the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium (from diffuse to dense molecular clouds), with emphasis on the properties, structure, physical conditions, and chemical composition of molecular gas illuminated by stellar ultraviolet photons (< 13.6 eV), so-called “photodissociation regions” (PDRs). These environments radiate most of the far-infrared and submillimeter emission detected from distant star-forming galaxies. The main targets of our investigations are regions such as Orion in the disk of the galaxy, as well Sgr B2 and Sgr A* in the Galactic Center. In addition to developing specific models, we follow a very observational approach, leading observing programs with the major observatories at these wavelengths: ISO, Herschel, ALMA, IRAM, and SOFIA. We are also “core-team” members of an ERS-JWST program (James Webb Space Telescope) to observe PDRs.

Main Research Topics

Recent Publications

Main national and international collaborations

Research projects (last 5 years)

  • Feedback y química en el Medio Interestelar” – (06/2020 – 05/2024). Reference: PID2019-106110GB-I00. Funding agency: Agencia Estatal de Investigación (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación). Principal investigator: Dr. Javier R. Goicoechea. Total funding: 121.000 €.
  • Efectos Dinámicos y Radiativos de las estrellas masivas en el medio interestelar: imágenes espectroscópicas con ALMA, SOFIA, IRAM y JWST” – (01/2018 – 12/2019). Reference: AYA2017-85111-P. Funding agency: Agencia Estatal de Investigación (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades). Principal investigator: Dr. Javier R. Goicoechea. Total funding: 53.240 €.

Scholar supervision (last 5 years)

  • García Santa-María, Miriam. Ph. D. ongoing. “Properties of the molecular gas in high-mass star-forming regions: differences between disk and Galactic Center clouds“. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Supervisor: Goicoechea, J. R.
  • Pabst, Cornelia H. M. Ph. D. title: “Orion’s Dragon and other stories: Feedback by massive stars“. Leiden Observatory, Faculty of Science, Leiden University (18/03/2021). Supervisor(s): Tielens, A. G. G. M.; Goicoechea, J. R.
  • García Santa-María, Miriam. Master in Astrophysics. Title: “Propiedades y origen del gas molecular caliente y extenso en la región de formación estelar de Orión (OMC-1)“. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (06/2018). Supervisor: Goicoechea, J. R.
  • Cuadrado Prado, Sara. Ph. D. title: “Molecular content in the Orion Bar photodissociation region“. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (09/2017). Supervisor(s): Goicoechea, J. R.; Cernicharo, J.