Stellar Feedback | Advisor: Sally Oey
PhD Research: Jordan Zastrow is exploring how extreme UV radiation emitted by massive stars affects their environments. Because it can’t be detected directly, Zastrow looks for spectral signatures that such radiation has passed through, and ionized, nearby gas. Through this process, she and her advisor have chipped away at a long-standing puzzle. While radiation from massive stars has been credited with clearing the fog of gas and dust in the early universe, observations of dwarf starburst galaxies (similar to those thought to dominate this period) failed to show how the radiation might escape to clear intergalactic space. Using narrowband imaging from Magellan, Zastrow mapped the highly ionized gas in several galaxies and found one with a narrow ionization cone ideally oriented for detection. This helps explain the observational gap – if the radiation’s path in other galaxies is similarly narrow but oriented differently, it might evade detection completely.
Why Michigan Astronomy?
Access: “We have access to amazing resources. There are the telescopes; I’ve been to Chile twice to collect data. There are great opportunities for teaching – and facilities like the planetarium, which students get to run during classes. And there are the faculty, who cover diverse areas and are in the forefront of their fields. But it’s not just that we have them; it’s that they’re so invested in us. You know you can knock on anyone’s door if they have expertise you need.”