Madison Markham, of Colgate University, spent 10 weeks working with Professor Liese van Zee and graduate student Laura Hunter analyzing optical spectra of nearby galaxies as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program run by IU's Physics Department.
Madison's project is part of a larger program to investigate the chemical enrichment of nearby galaxies, including measuring neutral and ionized gas kinematics. Madison personally inspected over 13000 spectra obtained with SparsePak on the WIYN 3.5m telescope and measured the line intensities, redshifts, and velocity dispersion of the optical emission lines from H-alpha, [NII], and [SII]. These measurements are used to characterize the physical conditions of the interstellar medium in each galaxy and are used to trace kinematic features, such as shells and superbubbles, that are indicative of energy injection into the interstellar medium from evolved stars.
Madison expects to present the results of this research project at the January 2023 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
For more information about IU's Physics Department please visit https://physics.indiana.edu .
For more information about the REU program run by IU's Physics Department, please follow the link: https://physics.indiana.edu/outreach/outreach-programs/nsf-research-experience.html .