Project B

Go with the flow: probing the flows and fate of gas in barred spiral galaxies

Francesca Fragkoudi, Erim Emsellem & Adrian Bittner

(email advisors)

Explore how gas funnels towards the central regions of spiral galaxies, and what its ultimate fate is, using state of the art numerical simulations: how much of it forms stars and how much gets swallowed up by the Supermassive Black Hole?

Bars in spiral galaxies cause gas to shock, lose angular momentum, and subsequently funnel towards the centre of the galaxy. When gas reaches the central regions it accumulates, becomes very dense and starts forming stars, which give rise to structures called nuclear discs and nuclear rings. Some of the gas which reaches these inner regions is also thought to be able to stream further into the galaxy and reach the supermassive black hole sitting at its centre.

How central structures — such as nuclear discs and rings — are built up by the gas flow, and what the properties of stars in these regions are, is being explored with powerful instruments like MUSE on the VLT. To complement this observational work we can use numerical models of galaxies to help us understand these physical processes.

In this project the student will explore state-of-the-art numerical simulations, to map and explore multi-dimensional views of relevant physics-related parameters, and analyse associated results. Some of the questions the student will tackle with the simulations are: i) how gas flowing to the central regions of barred galaxies builds up nuclear discs and rings, ii) what the properties of these structures are, and iii) how much of the gas is able to reach deep into the centre of the galaxy to where the supermassive black hole resides. According to the student’s interests they would also be able to compare these simulations to observational data of spiral galaxies taken with the MUSE instrument on the VLT.

#galaxies #fueling #bars #discs #python #NumericalSimulations #BlackHoles

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