Morphologies of Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxies as a Window into the Dark Matter Universe and Galaxy Formation

Childers, Molly, Astronomy, University of Virginia
Kallivayalil, Nitya, AS-Astronomy, University of Virginia
Richstein, Hannah, AS-Astronomy, University of Virginia

We explore the morphologies of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies in order to get a window into how to use their structures to place constraints on major components of universe. Characteristics of ultra-faint dwarf galaxies in our own galactic neighborhood give us valuable insight into the history of galaxy formation and the role dark matter plays in the evolution of our universe. We first used Hubble Space Telescope images to determine masking coordinates that will help further analyze galaxy data, and then we recreated color-magnitude diagrams and isochrones from the Hercules galaxy to confirm their accuracy. Finally, we tested the effect of modifying initial structural parameters in a Markov Chain Monte Carlo program for two galaxies, Eridanus II and Pegasus III, and found that changing position angle and normalization profile had the largest effect on half-light radius while decreasing magnitude depth led to larger position angles, ellipticities, and half-light radii independent of profile type. Next steps would be to analyze these results in detail and determine which profile type fits a given galaxy better.

BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxies, Dark Matter, Galaxy Formation
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