Affiliations: Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Research Assistantship, The Leon Madansky Undergraduate Research Award in Physics and Astronomy
Luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) are some of the brightest objects in our universe. These galaxies emit more radiation in the infrared then most galaxies emit in total. LIRGs are normally interacting or merging galaxy pairs making them a very important stage in galaxy formation and evolution. The high emission of infrared radiation in these galaxies is believed to be linked to their increased star formation, which can be as high as 100 times that of normal galaxies like the Milky Way; however, recent study has shown that some emission from molecular hydrogen, a main component in detecting star formation, does not originate in the star-forming regions of LIRGs, leaving its source somewhat mysterious. My project seeks to study the relationship between excess molecular hydrogen emission and the physical properties associated with galaxy mergers.