Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award

5-2016

Thesis Professor(s)

Dr. Beverly J. Smith

Thesis Professor Department

Physics and Astronomy

Thesis Reader(s)

Dr. Michele Joyner, Dr. Mark Giroux

Abstract

Ring galaxies are specific types of interacting galaxies in which a smaller galaxy has passed through the center of the disk of another larger galaxy. The intrusion of the smaller galaxy causes the structure of the larger galaxy to compress as the smaller galaxy falls through, and to recoil back after the smaller galaxy passes through, hence the ring-like shape. In our research, we studied the star-forming regions of a sample of ring galaxies and compared to those of other interacting galaxies and normal galaxies. Using UV, optical, and IR archived images in twelve wavelengths from three telescopes, we analyzed samples of star-forming regions in ring and normal spiral galaxies using photometry. To measure the star formation rates of the star forming regions, we used computer software that picked out the regions and measured their luminosities in all twelve wavelengths, before comparing the luminosities in these wavelengths to determine the rate of star formation. We have determined that ring galaxies have proportionally more clumps with higher star formation rates than spirals, and a similar trend was suggested when comparing ring galaxies to other interacting galaxies (though more data is required for that comparison). These findings can help us understand galaxy evolution, including the evolution of our own galaxy.

Publisher

East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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