Structural Evolution of Galaxies & Star-Planet Connections

Tara Fetherolf
UC Riverside
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
4:00 pm
FRH 4135


My work encompasses two areas of research that have been identified as high priority by the Astro 2020 Decadal: “unveiling the drivers of galaxy growth” and the “worlds and Suns in context.” First, I will discuss how studying the shape and structure of high-redshift galaxies can give insight into the evolution of galaxy properties. Using morphology metrics on high-resolution imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), I will show that the distribution of dust in z~2 galaxies progresses from being mostly uniform to patchy as galaxies grow in stellar mass. On the other side of the astronomical size scale, I will next discuss how studying the variability of starlight can be used to make connections between the properties of stars and their exoplanets. I will present a stellar variability catalog of stars observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which will serve as framework for 1) studying the characteristics of periodic variable stars; 2) understanding interactions between host star variability and planetary atmospheres; and 3) identifying falsely classified exoplanet candidates that are instead caused by stellar variability.

Paul Robertson