Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Mercedes Maldonado - New Mexico State University
We aim to study the formation and evolution of galaxies. Our goal is to determine the accuracy of cosmological simulation data (Ford et al. 2013) by comparing to “real world” galaxies. By examining the circumgalactic medium (CGM), a dynamically complex, multi-phase, metal enriched gaseous reservoir surrounding galaxies, we can learn about the cycles of gas and how they govern galaxy evolution. We employed a technique referred to as quasar (QSO) absorption lines, in which a quasar resides behind a galaxy and the CGM gas imprints absorption patterns in the spectrum of the distant quasar. These absorption lines can reveal the gas temperature, metallicity, and kinematics, and can help determine the global behavior of the galaxy. The purpose of this project is to measure the distribution of various ions (chemical elements) in the CGM as a function of distance from the galaxy in the cosmological simulations. We examined galaxies with masses of 1011,1012, and 1013 M⨀ (solar mass) to measure the densities for ions from hydrogen, magnesium, carbon and oxygen. We present our work for the magnesium ion. Our results determined that the cosmological simulation data (Ford et al) models are consistent with the observational data, for distances further from the galaxy and distances closer in were under-predicted.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HRD #1305011 / NMSU Astronomy Department
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Churchill,