Nigel Sharp

Tucson Nighttime Scientific Staff


Areas of Interest

Double Galaxies, Large Scale Structure, Emission-line Regions

Recent Research Results

Sharp showed last year that we could successfully derive the physical conditions in emission-line regions using careful narrow-band imaging (a project sparked by D. De Young). Most studies use spectroscopy, which provides a more accurate measurement of densities, pressures and temperatures, but makes it hard to study spatial variations. Theoretical models produce spatial structure with some uncertainty about the magnitudes of physical quantities. Imaging the way Sharp and De Young have done it makes it possible to a) obtain data under less than ideal sky conditions, b) compare with theoretical models in ways more appropriate to those models, and c) use a smaller aperture telescope.

Future Research Plans

Sharp will continue the study of emission regions using data already in hand. The results of this analysis will show whether the work should be expanded with further observations, or if the current success was fortuitous. Sharp's double galaxy studies currently include an atlas of mixed morphology pairs, almost in publication, as well as the continuing dynamical analysis of variously defined subsets. The goal is to compare and contrast current dynamical analysis techniques with the hope of finding areas for improvement. These will continue. A collaborative book project (with Bill Keel and Igor Karachentsev) has been under discussion for some time: perhaps this will be the period that sees progress. Sharp also plans to complete a study of the internal dynamics of the active galaxy NGC 3310.

Service

Sharp's principal duties are in computer support. He is the system manager and consultant for all NOAO computers running VMS or Digital Unix (OSF/1), and for the subset of Sun workstations comprising the Scientists' Workstation Network (running a mixture of SunOS4 and Solaris operating systems). Responsibilities include the hardware, the operating system software, and the user software, including installing, upgrading, and consulting on use. This covers any software used by any staff member. Sharp acts as co-Postmaster for the NOAO-wide e-mail system. He also handles small programming projects for members of staff and for system use (such as the film recorder and the video disk recorders). Sharp provides image services for staff and projects, such as the WIYN first light pictures used at the dedication, and some of NOAO's World Wide Web pages. He works with NOAO's educational activities, providing responses to public and professional requests (text, pictures, or both, as required - sometimes even video), as well as images for the Public Information Office collection, which are available for purchase. He has also been working with the Visitor Center docent program and the outreach advisory board of local teachers.


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NOAO is operated by the Association of U niversities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation
Posted: 06Dec1996