The formation of massive stars, stars much more massive than the Sun and which explode as a Supernova at the end of their lives, is still shrouded in mystery. One of the main reasons for this lack of understanding is that studies of these stars, and in particular of the circumstellar material close to the stellar surface, are sparse due to the fact that these objects are optically invisible and need to be studied at longer wavelengths such as the infrared.
In this project, a large sample of Massive Young Stellar Objects for which high quality K-band spectra have recently been obtained will be analysed. The sample consists of more than 60 objects, and the spectra cover the complete near-infrared range from 1 to 2.4 micron, covering many diagnostic absorption and emission lines. The data come from the 8meter VLT, one of the world’s premier and sought after telescopes. It is the largest such dataset ever acquired for this type of object. With the data you will investigate the stellar and circumstellar properties of the objects both individually and globally.