Which Galaxies Are Making Stars? Star Formation in Three Super-Clusters of Galaxies

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2013

Project Description/Abstract

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.

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