I've graduated and moved to the RSAA! Please visit my updated website instead.
My most recent work involves looking at the inner kiloparsec of late-stage gas-rich galaxy mergers at high spatial resolution, enabled by adaptive optics (AO). AO is a fairly new observational technique that measures and counteracts the blurring caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.
By making use of AO, we can resolve some of the complicated physics that goes on in the central regions of these trainwreck galaxy collisions. As gas is funneled to the center, it fuels black hole growth and intense star formation; these two phenomena are often invoked as important mechanisms during the process of galaxy evolution. For the first time, we have sufficient spatial resolution to disentangle their effects.