Meghin Spencer

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Meghin Spencer

Graduate Student

University of Michigan Department of Astronomy
1085 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Office Location(s): 406 West Hall
Phone: 734.615.6139

  • About

    NSF Fellowship | BS, University of Washington | Advisor: Mario Mateo

    Dwarf galaxies

    Meghin Spencer is interested in dwarf galaxies: isolated dwarfs, collections of dwarfs, and tidal streams. She has focused on the kinematics of Leo II, one of the most remote satellites of the Milky Way. By looking for signatures of gravitational disruption in stellar velocities, she can study the role of Galactic tides at large orbital radii. She has also researched dwarfs around the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4258. Most systems outside the Milky Way have only a few detected satellites, however NGC 4258 is close enough for her to identify many more. Such a large sample can be used as dynamical tracers to estimate the mass of the host galaxy, and allows for comparisons to Milky Way satellites. In the future, Spencer plans to use M2FS to assemble the largest spectroscopic catalog of main sequence stars within the Sagittarius Stream – the remnant of a dwarf galaxy that is being tidally ripped apart from a close encounter with the Milky Way. She will use the kinematics of these stars to distinguish between competing models of the gravitational potential of the Milky Way as well as uncover properties of the Stream’s progenitor galaxy.

    Related Interests

    Astronomy for the Sight Impaired (ASI).