What can the Occult Do for You? using overlapping galaxies to probe dust properties in galaxies

Friday, October 19, 2018 11:30 am - 11:30 am EDT

Astronomy Lunch Series

Benne Holwerda
Benne Holwerda

Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Louisville

Interstellar dust is still a dominant uncertainty in Astronomy, limiting precision in e.g., cosmological distance estimates and models of how light is re-processed within a galaxy. When a foreground galaxy serendipitously overlaps a more distant one, the latter backlights the dusty structures in the nearer foreground galaxy. Such an overlapping or occulting galaxy pair can be used to measure the distribution of dust in the closest galaxy with great accuracy. The STARSMOG program uses Hubble to map the distribution of dust in foreground galaxies in fine (