Department of Astronomy


The Violent Lives of Cluster Galaxies


Chris Mihos

Case Western Reserve University


Rather than being strewn randomly across the universe, galaxies tend to cluster together into groups and clusters containing hundreds or thousands of galaxies. The life of these cluster galaxies can be quite violent: collisions and mergers act to shred stars from their parent galaxies, transform galaxies from spiral to elliptical types, and create massive galaxies that live at the heart of the cluster. Over the past several years, CWRU astronomers have been using the university's wide‐field Burrell Schmidt telescope, located atop Kitt Peak, Arizona, to search for signatures of these processes in the nearby Virgo Cluster of galaxies. Dr. Chris Mihos will describe how this ultra‐deep imaging is being used in concert with supercomputer simulations to study the evolution of galaxies in clusters.