CCAPP Seminar: "A sub-kiloparsec scale view of star formation in M31" Alexia Lewis (U of Washington)

June 17, 2016
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 11:30am to 12:30pm
PRB 4138
Alexia Lewis

In the nearby Universe, observations of resolved stellar populations enable the measurement of star formation rates as a function of position and time - spatially-resolved star formation histories (SFHs) - within a single galaxy. Combined with multi-wavelength observations of dust and gas, these resolved SFHs represent the most direct way to holistically probe galaxy evolution. I will discuss my work in M31, where we have leveraged observations from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury program to measure the spatially-resolved recent SFH of M31's disk on 100 pc spatial scales over the past 500 Myr. My work has shown that the M31's 10 kpc ring is long-lived, posing a challenge to galactic dynamics. Additionally, I find that most (90%) of the star formation in M31 is obscured by dust. This obscuration is not well-captured by conventional integrated tracers of embedded star formation (e.g., 24 micron). I will also disucss my ongoing work to examine attenuation curve variations in M31 using a combination of HST + GALEX observations. As a whole, these studies reveal the most finely spatially-resolved view of star formation in an L_star galaxy to date.

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