Which Galaxies Are Making Stars? Star Formation in Three Super-Clusters of Galaxies
Stars form when enough hydrogen gas accumulates in a given region in a galaxy to attract gravitationally, heat up, and begin a process of nuclear fusion. Part of my research program is to determine which galaxies make stars and why. Through this 2013 Summer Grant, I began to analyze 3 ½ nights of observations using the Mayall 4-m telescope at Kitt Peak in Arizona of three different clusters in four filter bands. My raw data is over 450 individual exposures from a 121 megapixel camera attached to a lens that is 4-m is size. The number of exposures allows one to measure very faint galaxies (~23rd magnitude), much dimmer than the human eye can see (~7th magnitude), without saturating the camera. This summer, I combined all of these exposures, subtracting background noise in the telescope system, to obtain 12 stacked exposures on which the scientific measurements can be made.
Kling, Thomas P. (2013). Which Galaxies Are Making Stars? Star Formation in Three Super-Clusters of Galaxies. CARS Summer Grants. Item 153.
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