Alice Olmstead

Alice Olmstead has written 16 posts for astrobites

CUWiP Application Deadline *this Friday*!

The deadline for applying to the Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics is November 1st!

Digging up “red nuggets” in local elliptical galaxies

Huang et al. dig up evidence that distant “red nugget” galaxies grew into the massive ellipticals we see today by consuming smaller, gas-poor galaxies.

Why I left research for education

I recently decided to leave astronomy research to pursue only education. This is the story of how I got here.

White Dwarf Detonation

Exploding diamonds in the sky

Pakmor et al. propose a new mechanism to make Type 1a supernova explosions from a pair of white dwarfs.

No jets in the Galactic center?

Carretti and collaborators have found new evidence that the gigantic bubbles of emission emanating from the center of our Milky Way are the result of winds from supernova explosions, not jets from our supermassive black hole.

The strength of weak lensing

The Canada-France Hawaii Telescope weak gravitational lensing survey (CFHTLens), recently released new results to help constrain our cosmological models. While still in its early stages, weak lensing will ultimately be a powerful tool to discover the nature of the mysterious dark energy.

Gravitational Lensing in the Canary Islands

I recently attended a two-week crash course in the “Astrophysical Applications of Gravitational Lensing”. In this post, I overview a few of the ways astronomers employ lensing to study the Universe, from extrasolar planets to distant quasars and large-scale structure.

Have major mergers lost their driver’s license?

In this study, Kaviraj et al. find that major mergers only contribute a small percentage (17-27%) of the total star formation at a redshift of 2, when the Universe was 3.3 billion years old and vigorously creating new stars. This goes against what we once thought, and leaves the door open for other mechanisms to drive the global star formation rate in the early Universe.

Spinning the First Stars

In a recent paper, Stacy et al. reveal the detailed internal structure of the seeds of four of the first stars, and demonstrate for the first time that they are rapidly spinning throughout. Their results bring us one step closer to a coherent story of the lives and deaths of Population III stars.

Mixing up gas in the wake of a strangled satellite

Most simulations to date have implied that satellite galaxies traveling through galaxy clusters are stripped of gas for future star formation in a process known as “strangulation”. In contrast, the authors of this paper suggest that satellite galaxies may not be as cut off as some might think: instead, their simulations show that the cooler, stripped gas from the corona will mix with the surrounding intra-cluster medium and remain near the original galaxy as a potential new source of star-forming fuel.

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