The research concentrates on the properties of the interstellar medium and the process of star formation, both in the Milky Way and other galaxies. 

The topics include:

  • Physical and chemical properties of interstellar molecular clouds and the initial conditions for star formation by means of radio spectroscopy
  • Properties and composition of interstellar dust grains by observing continuum emission and polarisation from dust
  • Measurement and modelling of the Extragalacic Background Light (EBL) in the optical and infrared
  • Numerical radiative transfer modelling of spectral lines and dust emission and scattering in interstellar clouds
  • Numerical magnetohydrodynamical modelling of the physical properties of the molecular clouds

The main instruments currently used are:

  • ESO (European Southern Observatory)
    • Large optical telescopes (VLT etc.) and radio telescopes (APEX, ALMA) located in Chile.
      • Finland is a member of ESO since 2004
      • ESO/ESA synergy important for Finnish Astronomy
      • Participation in ALMA and ESO/VLT infrared projects building on previous experience with SEST, ISO, ODIN 
      • See also ESO press releases:
  • Planck
    • Cosmology satellite with an important contribution to Galactic studies (see ESA press release New Planck images trace cold dust and reveal large-scale structure in the Milky Way)
    • Coordinator status in a Scientific Working Group and a Technical Working Group
    • Analysis of interstellar medium and the properties of the interstellar dust, polarisatio measurements as a tracer of Galactic magnetic fields.
      • See here for more information in Finnish
  • Herschel

Senior members

  • Jorma Harju, University researcher 
    • Physicum D312 
    • Interstellar chemistry, molecular lines, studies of pre-stellar cores
  • Mika Juvela, University lecturer 
    • Physicum D331a 
    • Modelling of interstellar medium, Herschel and Planck satellite projects
  • Kalevi Mattila, Professor (emeritus) 
    • Physicum A218
  • Veli-Matti Pelkonen, postdoctoral researcher (FINCA)
    • Planck studies of interstellar medium, infrared observations