Galaxy interactions and mergers

I have worked on galaxy interactions for over a decade now, probably attracted initially by the sheer strangeness of form that many disturbed galaxies exhibit (see my picture gallery for some samples). This work has searched for links between external perturbations and star formation or nuclear activity, and more recently (especially in projects with Wentao Wu) started to assess how important mergers are in the overall evolution of galaxies. Some ongoing projects are:

  • A census of H II regions in interacting galaxies, to see how strongly their sizes and distribution are affected by the global changes in dynamics (with Lisa Frattare - hey, Lisa, just wanted you to know I still remember this one!)
  • A search for luminous "young globular" clusters in earlier and weaker galaxy interactions than hitherto reported (Kirk Borne is in on this one)
  • Modelling the surface density of both individual galaxies and galaxy pairs to constrain the history of galaxy mergers (this will likely be Wentao Wu's dissertation work, as he has done all the picky programming).

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    Last updated: 27 June 1997