Research Projects

Multiple Filaments in the Magellanic Stream

My current work focuses on the interaction between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. My simulations explore how this interaction formed the complex and extensive stream of HI gas seen around the Clouds. Stay tuned for details.

Picture: The present day distribution of gas in the Magellanic Stream from one of our simulations and in the HI gas of Nidever et al. 2010.

Asymmetries in Magellanic Galaxies

As part of my thesis project, I examined the role of interactions in causing the asymmetries in Magellanic Galaxies. See my paper about tidally induced asymmetric-disks and how they masquerade as offset bars in Magellanic Galaxies. If you are interested, you can check out an interactive visualization of the results.

We use a custom version of the GalIC code to simulate isolated galaxies and evolve encounters with Gadget 3.

Picture: A simulation of a recently disrupted galaxy modeled after the LMC. The colors represent surface density of stars.

Tidal Streams as a Probe of Dark Matter

As a 2014 fellow at the International Summer Institute for Modeling in Astrophysics, I worked with Andreas K├╝pper on modeling the tidal stream of NGC 5466. Tidal streams act as unique probes of the dark matter halo of their environments. This work, along with new data from Jay Strader, will place strong contraints on the shape and total mass of the Milky Way. We use a Markov chain Monte Carlo to probe parameter space, where the likelihood function is drawn in real time from very efficient restricted N-Body simulations of the globular cluster in our test potential.

Picture: A model of the Milky Way with our best fit stream model for NGC 5466 in red.

LARS and eLARS

The Lyman Alpha Reference Sample (LARS) is a large Hubble project and international collaboration testing the escape of Lyman Alpha photons from distant galaxies.

LARS utilizes almost the entire electromagnetic spectrum: from UV and optical spectra that reveal intense star formation, to radio observations that probe the neutral hydrogen and molecular gas content. The survey started with 14 galaxies and 28 more have now been added through e(xtended)LARS. We have conducted HI observations using the GBT, VLA, and GMRT of all 14 LARS galaxies and many of the 28 eLARS.

I recently published a paper detailing the reduction and analysis of these first 14 galaxies.

Picture: HI contours on DSS image of interacting galaxies Arp 238 (LARS 03).