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Leslie W Looney

Profile picture for Leslie W Looney

Contact Information

123 Astronomy Building, MC-221
1002 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Director - Laboratory for Astronomical Imaging, Professor

Research Description

My group studies the cutest stars - big and cuddly protostars only 10,000 to 100,000 years old, before they turn punky and begin to fuse hydrogen into helium in their core in about 1 million years. These stars are surrounded by envelopes of dust and gas that give us direct evidence of how stars form and how early planetary systems are going to form.  Lately, we have been most excited about 1) how circumstellar disks evolve from the earliest stages and what impact the disk has on the evolution of planets via dust grain growth, and 2) the polarization of light from the circumstellar disk which arises from three mechanisms, aligned dust grains via magnetic field, aligned dust grains from radiation, and/or scattering.   

The sources we study are usually deeply embedded in gas and dust, which means that they can only be observed at wavelengths longer than 10 microns.   Thus, our  group typically utilizes ALMA, SOFIA, and VLA observations to peer into stellar nurseries.

However, lately I am also considering variability of sources in LSST.

Current Graduate Students:

Frankie Encalada

Rachel Harrison

Past Graduate Students:

Shiya Wang (2008)

Yu-Shao "Jerry" Shiao (2008)

Woojin Kwon (2009)

Jonathan Seale (2010)

Hsin-Fang Chiang (2011)

I-Jen "Katherine" Lee (2013)

Ian Stephens (2013)

Dominique Segura-Cox (2017)

Erin Cox (2018)

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Astronomy

Recent Publications

Chen, C. Y., Friesen, R., Li, J., Schmiedeke, A., Frayer, D., Li, Z. Y., Tobin, J., Looney, L. W., Offner, S., Mundy, L. G., Harris, A. I., Church, S., Ostriker, E. C., Pineda, J. E., Hsieh, T. H., & Lam, K. H. (2024). Dynamics in Star-forming Cores (DiSCo): project overview and the first look towards the B1 and NGC 1333 regions in Perseus. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 527(4), 10279-10293.

Lin, Z.-Y. D., Li, Z.-Y., Stephens, I. W., Fernández-López, M., Carrasco-González, C., Chandler, C. J., Pasetto, A., Looney, L. W., Yang, H., Harrison, R. E., Sadavoy, S. I., Henning, T., Hughes, A. M., Kataoka, A., Kwon, W., Muto, T., & Segura-Cox, D. (2024). Panchromatic (Sub)millimeter polarization observations of HL Tau unveil aligned scattering grains. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 528(1), 843-862.

Aso, Y., Kwon, W., Ohashi, N., Jørgensen, J. K., Tobin, J. J., Aikawa, Y., de Gregorio-Monsalvo, I., Han, I., Kido, M., Koch, P. M., Lai, S. P., Lee, C. W., Lee, J. E., Li, Z. Y., Lin, Z. Y. D., Looney, L. W., Narayanan, S., Phuong, N. T., Insa Choi, J. S., ... Yen, H. W. (2023). Early Planet Formation in Embedded Disks (eDisk). VI. Kinematic Structures around the Very-low-mass Protostar IRAS 16253-2429. Astrophysical Journal, 954(1), Article 101.

Flores, C., Ohashi, N., Tobin, J. J., Jørgensen, J. K., Takakuwa, S., Li, Z. Y., Lin, Z. Y. D., van ’t Hoff, M. L. R., Plunkett, A. L., Yamato, Y., Sai (Insa Choi), J., Koch, P. M., Yen, H. W., Aikawa, Y., Aso, Y., de Gregorio-Monsalvo, I., Kido, M., Kwon, W., Lee, J. E., ... Lai, S. P. (2023). Early Planet Formation in Embedded Disks (eDisk). XII. Accretion Streamers, Protoplanetary Disk, and Outflow in the Class I Source Oph IRS 63. Astrophysical Journal, 958(1), Article 98.

Kido, M., Takakuwa, S., Saigo, K., Ohashi, N., Tobin, J. J., Jørgensen, J. K., Aikawa, Y., Aso, Y., Encalada, F. J., Flores, C., Gavino, S., de Gregorio-Monsalvo, I., Han, I., Hirano, S., Koch, P. M., Kwon, W., Lai, S. P., Lee, C. W., Lee, J. E., ... Yen, H. W. (2023). Early Planet Formation in Embedded Disks (eDisk). VII. Keplerian Disk, Disk Substructure, and Accretion Streamers in the Class 0 Protostar IRAS 16544-1604 in CB 68. Astrophysical Journal, 953(2), Article 190.

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