Radio Observation of Ultra-Diffuse galaxies

Primary Submission Contact

Carla Espinoza

Faculty Sponsor

Luke Leisman

Faculty Sponsor Email Address



Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Document Type

Poster Presentation


Fall 10-9-2019


During my research, I studied Ultra diffused galaxies (UDGs) UDGs are categorized of low surface brightness galaxies and have very few stars, about the same number as dwarf galaxies while remaining the size of a typical galaxy, meaning the stars are very spread out. Right now we do not know what makes the UDGs “ultra-diffuse.” We have hypothesized two theories, either their star formation was stunted, or they were formed by having their stars pushed/pulled apart. One way to study these galaxies is through radio astronomy. UDGs have atomic hydrogen (HI) gas between stars which is detectable with radio telescopes. One part of my research this past summer was learning how to reduce data in order to detect the HI in UDGs through using specialized software on Lynx computers. We get our data from radio telescopes such as the Areciboobservatory and the Green Bank Telescope. Another part of my research was testing a prediction from the NIHAO simulation that UDGs were formed when gas in between stars pulled them apart, therefore, UDGs with higher HI emission have larger radii. I tested this prediction by using plotting tools in Topcat, then coding writing code to plot in Python to study UDGs with detected HI. I found a preliminary result that there is no correlation between the amount of HI and the size of radii. This research is an important step in learning how UDGs are formed.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I am a second-year physics major and I have an interest in astronomy

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