About me

I am a LOFAR telescope scientist at ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. I have held previous posts at the University of Copenhagen (DK), at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta (Canada), and at the University of Groningen (NL). See my short cv for a timeline.


I study molecules and dust in the immediate environment of protostars, including circumstellar envelopes, planet-forming disks, and outflows. The aim is to understand how the central, young stars influence the physical and chemical processes at play in their surroundings.

Much of my research builds on spectral surveys of molecular line emission at (far)-infrared and (sub)millimeter wavelengths. Here, the word 'survey' refers to scanning all wavelengths accessible to a particular instrument, usually toward a limited sample of targets. For this purpose, I have used several (imaging) spectrometer instruments, in rough chronological order: (1) heterodyne receivers at JCMT on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i [Van der Wiel+ 2009, 2011]; (2) FTS and heterodyne spectrometers on board the Herschel Space Observatory, which — as the name suggests — operated from space rather than from a mountain top [Van der Wiel+ 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016]; and (3) the interferometer array ALMA, located in northern Chile [Jørgensen & Van der Wiel+ 2016].

Spectral surveys offer the possibility to study multiple transitions of the same molecular species to pin down a detailed excitation balance, and to obtain a chemical inventory that is not biased by the choice of a (narrow) frequency range targeted at a particular molecular line transition. With high spectral resolution heterodyne instruments (e.g., Herschel/HIFI) it becomes possible to study gas motions along the line of sight, while spectrometers with imaging capabilities (e.g., Herschel/SPIRE iFTS) facilitate the study of the spatial distribution of gas and dust using spectral maps. Some instruments, such as interferometers and heterodyne array receivers, provide efficient means of resolving kinematics and morphology simultaneously.


wiel [at] astron [dot] nl
room 1.31, ASTRON, Dwingeloo
(+31)/(0)521 595 788
postal address
M.H.D. van der Wiel
ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
PO Box 2
7990 AA Dwingeloo
The Netherlands
Matthijs, Nov 2012