Measurement and Analysis of Obscured Luminous Active Galaxies

Hesler, Sarah, Astronomy, University of Virginia
Whittle, Mark, AS-Astronomy, University of Virginia

Throughout the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, I improved my skills in DS9 and IRAF programs by completing a number of tasks in the pursuit of further characterizing a series of high-redshift galaxies believed to be hosts to active galactic nuclei (AGN) as a part of my Tutorial course. These tasks include identifying a radio source in optical images by overlaying contours from the radio onto the optical, investigating several physical characteristics of the objects (including physical size and absolute magnitude), and spectral reduction and analysis. This writeup summarizes the work done during these semesters, with explanations of the processes used and some of the astrophysics behind them, and including the results of the image analysis.
The optical images used were obtained using the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). The sample of objects are a crossmatch between WISE and Northern VLA Sky Survey (NVSS). The objects were specifically chosen because they are red, dusty (optically faint), and radio bright. The original sample included 160 objects, but this project uses a subsample of only 12 of those objects. As for the radio images, both the A and B arrays were taken using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).
The goal of this project is to better understand this point in massive galaxy evolution. Professor Mark Whittle is investigating this project, and Dr. Ricky Patterson is a key contributor as well. During the Spring 2019 semester, Chris Li also helped with the project by attending meetings and helping to gather documentation and code he wrote previously for data/image processing.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
astronomy, AGN, active galactic nuclei
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