Interstellar dust plays an important role in the regulation of energy and formation of stars in the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies. Despite the fact that dust grains make up only about 1% of the mass of the ISM, they can absorb up to half of the energy emitted by stars at ultraviolet and optical wavelengths and reradiate this energy at infrared wavelengths. A majority of dust grains are a byproduct of stellar evolution, forming in the atmosphere of red giant stars or supernovae ejecta, and thus are closely linked to the production of "metals" (in astronomy lingo, this refers to elements heavier than hydrogen and helium). You will examine large nearby galaxies with optical integral field spectroscopy (IFS) from the TYPHOON survey (see Figure, left) and infrared imaging data. These data allow us to obtain spatially-resolved measurements of the metal and dust abundances (see Figure, right) within these galaxies and to characterise how they correlate with each other. These constraints are critical to improving theories of dust production and galaxy evolution.
This project will provide you with expertise in the analysis of IFS and other multi-wavelength data that are highly desired skills in the field. You will also gain knowledge of new astrophysical software and improve your coding ability. For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.