We offer opportunities for both observational and theoretical projects in galaxy evolution, stellar populations, stellar physics, cosmology, and galactic dynamics.

Current Graduate Student Research

Tiffany Visgaitis

Tiffany Visgaitis is using data from the Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope interferometer to study the kinematics of atomic gas in systems of merging galaxies that have produced candidate Tidal Dwarf Galaxies (TGGs). If TDGs are newly formed dwarf galaxies born from the debris of the tidal interaction between giant galaxies, they should be stripped of dark matter in the process. Tiffany’s work explores whether there is evidence for this in their kinematics. The gas that TDGs are built from should reflect the properties of the giant galaxies from which it originated, so she is also using data from the Hobby-Eberly and Calar Alto observatories to measure gas phase metallicities. If tidal in origin, these dwarfs should have metallicities that are higher than typical of primordial dwarf galaxies of similar luminosity.

Francis Duey

Francis Duey is using data from NASA’s WISE infrared observatory to measure the stellar masses of a large sample of galaxies with good kinematic measurements. She will use these data to calibrate the baryonic Tully-Fisher relation, which is a relation between the mass of a galaxy and how fast it rotates. This can, in turn, but employed as a distance indicator and used to measure the expansion rate of the universe. Initial results already demonstrate a precision of 3%, and further work should improve measurement accuracy to be competitive with the best available methods employed to measure this fundamental property of the universe in which we live.