Physics & Astronomy Seminar--Cosmic train wrecks: when galaxies collide

4:30 PM  - 5:30 PM
Thursday Oct 18, 2012
Room 150, Olin-Rice Science Center

Jillian Scudder, Macalester ‘09, presents new results that shed light on what really happens when galaxies collide:

Galaxy interactions create some of the most dramatic and photogenic objects in the Universe.  These galaxies are going through a very tumultuous period in their lives, but how lasting are the changes these galaxies go through?  I will provide a review of the basic structure of an undisturbed galaxy and some of its key observable properties.  We can then investigate how these properties change in a galaxy with a nearby companion, and what these changes can tell us about the internal workings of the galaxy.  We are then presented with a series of new questions.  How complex is the evolution of these properties as an interaction progresses?  Is the current simple physical model sufficient, or do we need to nuance our model in order to understand recent observations?  More fundamentally, are these extragalactic train wrecks fleeting moments in a galaxy's lifetime, or do the changes have long-lasting effects upon a galaxy? New results help to answer these questions.

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Admission: Free

Sponsored By: Physics & Astronomy

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