22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

Dr Tyler Bourke

Dr Tyler Bourke is a Project Scientist for the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, which is building the world’s largest radio telescope, where his area of focus with the SKA is on the Cradle of Life, and Our Galaxy, covering exoplanets and SETI. He has over 26 years of professional experience and more than 100 refereed scientific publications in the world of Astronomy. Starting off his career as a Research Assistant for the Australian National University, Tyler has worked on various projects including the Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Programme, Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Submillimeter Array, before moving to the US to work for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics. Tyler’s scientific interests lie in the area of Galactic star formation, young stars, and the dust and gas clouds from which they form, within our Milky Way galaxy, and he has been hooked on astronomy since the 3rd Grade!

Where did our Sun come from?

Our Sun is a little more massive than an average star, but is otherwise fairly normal, and is currently in middle-age. It was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and has about 5 billion years left to live. But how was it formed? How are stars, in general formed? Stars are still being born today, so by studying young stars we are figuring out how our Sun, and our Solar System, came to be. Like us, young stars grow quickly, spew out material from both ends, and are quite rambunctious, before they settle into middle-age. But by our standards, star formation is slow. For each young star we study, we only get a snapshot in time, not a movie. Recreating the history of star formation is thus like being given a photo album full of expectant parents and young children from birth to school age, and being asked to explain how an average child came to be.