The Milky Way is composed of numerous clusters of stars scattered throughout the spiral
arms of the galaxy. In between stars there is a tenuous, gaseous matter which is referred to as the interstellar medium. Studying the interstellar medium can give us many critical clues on the evolution of our Galaxy and the types of stars and planets that are formed.
From previous studies and astronomical observations it is known that the interstellar medium is in a constant state of flux. The most abundantly found element in the interstellar medium is Hydrogen. Apart from Hydrogen there are also small amounts of Helium, Carbon and other elements in the ISM. Interestingly, Hydrogen in the interstellar medium is in different forms in different parts of the ISM. While in some areas it is in atomic form, in others it is in molecular form and in still other areas, it is ionized. It is this diffuse ionized gas that is the focus of a currently ongoing large-scale recombination line survey with the Green Bank Telescope. Recombination lines of hydrogen and helium are used to understand the origin of the diffuse ionized gas.
It is also known that in the ISM there is ionized carbon in regions surrounding the clouds of molecular hydrogen. It is the intent of this survey to also search for recombination lines of carbon from which valuable information can be gleaned regarding the formation of molecular clouds.
Students working on this project will have the opportunity to analyze large astronomy data set and develop models to determine the physical state of the ionized gas responsible for recombination line emission. The analysis and modeling programs will be developed in python.
Start Date: 2/1/2024 - End Date: 12/14/2024
Type of Project
Individual or team
10 to 20 hrs per week hour(s)
Students with a background in physical science
Interested in Working With the Following Programs
Independent Research Credit (4912)
Research and Mentoring Program