Out of this world lecture: 2013 Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship

Kaitlin Specht
News Writer

“The formation of galaxies is a big question,” Dr. Eric M. Schlegel stated during the 2013 Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship last Thursday. “How galaxies evolve from the first beginnings of years to what we see now is also a big question.”
Millersville’s physics department presented Schlegel’s lecture, which was titled “Face-on Spiral Galaxies, from Radio to X-ray.” During Schlegel’s lecture, he discussed the formation of stars and galaxies, and how, “star formation is fundamentally tied up with how galaxies evolve.”
In order to better understand the formation of the earliest forms of galaxies, we must first understand the formation of our local galaxies by using X-rays and radio wavelengths. According to Schlegel, physics and astronomy professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, viewing galaxies may differ when using an instrument or telescope.
“Star formation starts off pretty high…The rate at which stars form seems to be matched up with the density of gas in the galaxy,” explained Schlegel. “We don’t understand structure and star formation and how galaxies evolve, which is why it’s a mess.”
He also explained that the goal is to integrate X-ray into multi-wavelength studies in order to understand distant galaxies during the lecture.
“If we don’t understand the closer ones,” Schlegel explained, “then we are definitely not going to understand the distant ones.”
To learn more about the Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), please visit this link: http://aas.org/outreach/harlow-shapley-vis…ships-astronomy.