Katherine Rhode

Globular Cluster Systems as Probes of Galaxy Formation and Evolution
Contact information:
Indiana University
Department of Astronomy
Swain West
727 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
Fellowship status:
Starting year: 2003
AAPF alumnus
Fellowship institution: Wesleyan University and Yale University
Current (or last known) position: Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Indiana University
Research Interests:

Understanding how galaxies form is a fundamental problem in astrophysics and cosmology. Through their metallicities, spatial distributions, and kinematics, globular clusters (GCs) provide a fossil record of the conditions present in a galaxy when they formed, and thereby yield important clues to the galaxy's origins. I have surveyed the GC systems of a large sample of elliptical and spiral galaxies, with the goal of testing models for galaxy formation. The survey has produced positions, magnitudes, and colors of GCs out to large radius around the target galaxies, and provides a natural starting point for further study. I am using the survey data for two primary purposes: (1) to obtain spectroscopy of GCs and measure their kinematics, metallicities, and ages, with the aim of providing further constraints on the formation of giant galaxies, and (2) to match my wide-field optical images with Chandra data to explore the connection between GCs and X-ray emission from discrete sources in normal galaxies.

Education and Outreach Interests:

For my educational activity, I am developing a set of laboratory exercises, aimed at non-science-majors in undergraduate astronomy courses, that involve observations with a small telescope and CCD. These labs are different from previous work in that they provide students with first-hand experience with the tools used in modern astronomy. After being tested and refined at Wesleyan and Yale Universities, the lab exercises will be disseminated to the astronomical community via a web site.