Star Clusters in Interacting Galaxies: a Study of Dwarf Merger 1529
Faculty Mentor: Sabrina Stierwalt, Physics Department
Funding: Schmiedeshoff Undergraduate Research Fund
In this project, we start our examination of the theory that dwarf-dwarf galaxy interactions influence the formation of super star clusters (SSCs), based on the observation that some dwarf galaxies have a disproportionately large number of these SSCs (Weidner et al. 2004). We analyze images of the dwarf merger dm1529+26 from the Hubble Space Telescope in the U, I, and H-alpha bands, identify star clusters in each galaxy in the merger, derive the color and magnitude of those clusters, and create a three-color image of dm1529+26. The color and magnitude data can be used beyond this project to derive the age and mass of each cluster, which we planned but were not able to do in this project due to time constraints and challenges associated with remote work. These age and mass values can then be used in comparison to those of star clusters in isolated dwarf galaxies and merging dwarf galaxies at different merger stages in order to test the afore-mentioned theory. This can, in turn, provide insights into galaxy formation in the early universe.
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