NSF Fellowship | Hot Halos | Advisor: Joel Bregman
PhD Research: Mike Anderson is using X-ray observations to test theoretical predictions that large galaxies formed from and are surrounded by diffuse hot gas. These “hot halos” have been difficult to detect, even with the best X-ray telescopes, but Anderson and his advisor have been the first to detect one around a spiral galaxy by employing novel observational techniques. Using estimates of the halo’s mass, density, and temperature, Anderson was able to rule it out as a solution to the enigmatic problem of galaxies’ “missing baryons.” He demonstrated that the galaxy’s missing matter could not be accounted for in a halo of the mass they detected. He plans to work with Professor Oleg Gnedin on simulations that will further connect his observations to theories of galaxy formation.
Why Michigan Astronomy?
Faculty Breadth: “My thesis committee is full of people who work on hot halos from different perspectives: X-ray astronomers; people who do simulations; and people who do observations of the early universe. I listen to them debate different ways to look at the topic and get a much fuller picture of how to connect my observations to theory.”
Support: “This is an incredibly supportive department. A great example is students’ annual research presentations. What’s special about Michigan is that the faculty attend these talks — not just your advisor, but most of the faculty. This means that every professor will know your name and know where you are with your research and how they can help if you need it.”