NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0310

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0310


PI: Sungryong Hong, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, shong@astro.umass.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, LGRT-B 619E, 710 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A., United States

CoI: Daniela Calzetti, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
CoI: John S. Gallagher III, University of Wisconsin-Madison
CoI: Mark S. Westmoquette, University College London

Title: The Structure of Shock Fronts in Starburst Galaxies

Abstract: Stellar feedback - the return of mass and energy from star formation to the interstellar medium(ISM) - is one of the primary engines of galaxy evolution. Yet, the theoretical foundation of mechanical feedback is, to date, unconstrained by observations. We propose to observe the shock fronts of two nearby starburst galaxies, NGC3077 and He2-10, for which candidate shock regions have been identified through HST/WFPC2 and ACS narrow--band imaging (using the diagnostics [OIII]/H-beta and [SII]/H-alpha). We propose to use GMOS/IFU with the R831 grating to resolve the kinematic components of the H-alpha emission over a range of locations along the shock fronts, all of which located about 100-200 pc from the center of the starburst(s), at the position where the turbulent mixing layers should be replaced by the outflowing gas (Westmoquette et al. 2007). We will determine not only whether moving gas is present, but also its dynamical age, and the velocity structure and the nature of the motions. By leveraging the HST data to identify a priori the locations of the shocks, this proposal will provide the best evidence to date for the presence/absence of ordered bulk motions well within the central regions of galaxies, at the putative base of the gas outflows. We will thus provide the necessary observational foundation to the quest for understanding the nature of stellar feedback and its role in shaping galaxy evolution.


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