The Hottest Hot Spots On Campus

What the Research is about

Galaxies are usually described as a huge grouping of stars, but they are much more than just stars. Harder to see, but equally important are the large clouds of gas and dust, remanants of the material from which the galaxy was created or debris from supernovae in previous generations of stars. These clouds are of great interest, largely in part because it is from clouds like these that stars will eventually form.

The thrust of our research has been in HII regions and nuclear hot spots. HII regions are regions of ionized hydrogen gas (HI is atomic hydrogen and HII is ionized hydrogen, to astronomers). These clouds glow brightly in the hydrogen spectrum, especially the H-alpha (6563 Angstroms) emission line. When a filter is used that let's light through at this wavelength, the HII regions will be obvious. A hot spot is an HII region which can be found in the nucleus of a galaxy. The conditions here are much different than in the disk of the galaxy, so it is an obvious -and important- question to wonder how the HII regions and hot spots differ. This is what we are seeking to answer.

On to Long Slit Explanation

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