An image of the Central Molecular Zone in three colors from the Herschel space telescope with the words Professor Cara Battersby on top in script.

Contact Information


Office: Gant South S-113F

Virtual Office:

Phone: (860 ) 486-3988

Address: Department of Physics
196A Auditorium Rd, Unit 3046
Storrs, CT 06269-3046

Dr. Cara Battersby is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, specializing in observational astrophysics. Prof. Battersby studies how stars are born in our Galaxy’s Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) by combining large observational surveys and numerical simulations.

Prof. Battersby has authored over 70 publications and given over 50 invited research presentations. Read more about her research, team, and accolades

In 2017, Prof. Battersby founded the Milky Way Laboratory, a research group at the University of Connecticut that specializes in using our home Galaxy as a laboratory for understanding star formation throughout the cosmos.

An image of Dr. Cara Battersby

RSS Recent Publications

  • The initial conditions for young massive cluster formation in the Galactic Centre: convergence of large-scale gas flows May 16, 2022
    Young massive clusters (YMCs) are compact ($\lesssim$1 pc), high-mass (>10${}^4$ M${}_{\odot}$) stellar systems of significant scientific interest. Due to their rarity and rapid formation, we have very few examples of YMC progenitor gas clouds before star formation has begun. As a result, the initial conditions required for YMC formation are uncertain. We present high-resolution (0.13$^{\prime\prime}$, […]
    Bethan A. Williams
  • Star Formation in the Central Molecular Zone of the Milky Way March 21, 2022
    The Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) is a ring-like accumulation of molecular gas in the innermost few hundred parsecs of the Milky Way, generated by the inward transport of matter driven by the Galactic bar. The CMZ is the most extreme star-forming environment in the Galaxy. The unique combination of large-scale dynamics and extreme interstellar medium […]
    Jonathan D. Henshaw
  • Virial Clumps in Central Molecular Zone Clouds February 28, 2022
    CMZoom survey observations with the Submillimeter Array are analyzed to describe the virial equilibrium (VE) and star-forming potential of 755 clumps in 22 clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of the Milky Way. In each cloud, nearly all clumps follow the column-density-mass trend N~M^s, where s = 0.38 +- 0.03 is near the pressure-bounded […]
    Philip C. Myers
  • The Magnetic Field in the Milky Way Filamentary Bone G47 January 28, 2022
    Star formation primarily occurs in filaments where magnetic fields are expected to be dynamically important. The largest and densest filaments trace spiral structure within galaxies. Over a dozen of these dense ($\sim$10$^4$\,cm$^{-3}$) and long ($>$10\,pc) filaments have been found within the Milky Way, and they are often referred to as "bones." Until now, none of […]
    Ian W. Stephens
  • ALMA-IMF II -- investigating the origin of stellar masses: Continuum Images and Data Processing December 15, 2021
    We present the first data release of the ALMA-IMF Large Program, which covers the 12m-array continuum calibration and imaging. The ALMA-IMF Large Program is a survey of fifteen dense molecular cloud regions spanning a range of evolutionary stages that aims to measure the core mass function (CMF). We describe the data acquisition and calibration done […]
    A. Ginsburg
  • ALMA-IMF I -- Investigating the origin of stellar masses: Introduction to the Large Program and first results December 15, 2021
    The ALMA-IMF Large Program imaged a total noncontiguous area of 53pc2, covering 15 extreme, nearby protoclusters of the Milky Way. They were selected to span relevant early protocluster evolutionary stages. Our 1.3mm and 3mm observations provide continuum images that are homogeneously sensitive to point-like cores with masses of 0.2 and 0.6Msun, respectively, with a matched […]
    F. Motte
  • A wind-blown bubble in the Central Molecular Zone cloud G0.253+0.016 October 21, 2021
    G0.253+0.016, commonly referred to as "the Brick" and located within the Central Molecular Zone, is one of the densest ($\approx10^{3-4}$ cm$^{-3}$) molecular clouds in the Galaxy to lack signatures of widespread star formation. We set out to constrain the origins of an arc-shaped molecular line emission feature located within the cloud. We determine that the […]
    J. D. Henshaw
  • Dynamically Driven Inflow onto the Galactic Center and its Effect upon Molecular Clouds June 15, 2021
    The Galactic bar plays a critical role in the evolution of the Milky Way's Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), driving mass inward toward the Galactic Center via gas flows known as dust lanes. To explore the interaction between the CMZ and the dust lanes, we run hydrodynamic simulations in AREPO, modeling the potential of the Milky […]
    H Perry Hatchfield


  • Meet the Milky Way Laboratory’s New Unofficial Mascot
    While pursuing her research project to map out and analyze the minimum spanning trees (MSTs) of clouds in the Galactic Center using CMZoom Data, MW Lab undergraduate student Stefania Schuler, supervised by Jen Wallace, made an intriguing discovery. G0.316-0.201 is the designation of an isolated high-mass star-forming region in the CMZoom survey and it is […]
  • Battersby Awarded NSF CAREER grant!
    Dr. Cara Battersby has been awarded an NSF early CAREER grant 🥳 🥳 🥳 ! This award (for nearly $700k) is entitled “CAREER: Shining STARs Amidst the Turbulence” and will be used to study star formation in our Galaxy’s extreme center, by comparing large observational surveys with custom numerical simulations. As part of this program, […]
  • Galactic Center Inflow Simulation Paper Published!
    H Perry Hatchfield’s stunning paper (Hatchfield et al. 2021) reporting on the current best estimate of the Galactic Center Inflow rate and the origin of molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone is now published in ApJ!!! Congratulations Perry! Here is the abstract: “The Galactic bar plays a critical role in the evolution of the […]