I study gas clouds out in space surrounding newly born or dying stars. Ultraviolet radiation from the stars excites hydrogen molecules in the gas, causing the molecules to rotate and vibrate. As the molecules slow down, they give off energy in the form of near-infrared radiation.
I observe this radiation from the molecules with the
Immersion Grating INfrared Spectrograph (IGRINS)
IGRINS is a high resoultion (R~45000) near-infrared spectrograph that observes both the H and K bands (1.45-2.45 µm) simultaneously. From these observations, I can infer the excitation and physical conditions in the molecular gas.