• IPAC



The goal of SHIPs (Searching Herschel Images for Protostars) is to find and identify stars in the earliest phases of formation in NGC 281, a.k.a. "the pac-man nebula".  These stars will help us understand the history of the star formation process in that region.


We will use far infrared (FIR) images at 70 and 160 μm from the Herschel Space Observatory to investigate triggered star-formation in NGC 281. The FIR data, when combined with previous near- and far-infrared surveys, will allow us to accurately identify Class 0/I protostars in the region. The combined infrared to sub-mm spectral energy distributions will be compared with a grid of protostellar models to discern the properties of these protostars. An examination of the ages and spatial distribution of the earliest groups of protostars will contribute to a more comprehensive interpretation of star formation rates and efficiencies within NGC 281. This study provides a unique opportunity to contrast the effects of different mechanisms of star formation on the most recently formed population of stars.

Mentor Astronomer


Dr. Babar Ali

Caltech, Pasadena, California

Participant Educator


Ms. Melissa Booker

Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, Virginia

Participant Educator


Ms. Carol Ivers

Foran High School, Milford, Connecticut

Participant Educator




  • NITARP 2013 proposals accepted! April 12, 2013

    All of the 2013 NITARP teams have written proposals describing the work they will conduct in 2013. Check them out on the individual team pages!

  • NITARP 2013 proposal review March 22, 2013

    All four main NITARP 2013 teams submitted research proposals. Several NITARP alumni helped review them.

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