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Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Minnesota

Research in astronomy and astrophysics extends from understanding the births, lives, and deaths of stars to the study of massive clusters of galaxies

The example image shows the simulated radio emission from a radio galaxy in a cluster of galaxies just after it has been overrun by a shock wave propagating through the cluster. Such interactions may be useful as lamp posts to reveal the physics of radio galaxies and of galaxy clusters.
The example image shows the simulated radio emission from a radio galaxy in a cluster of galaxies just after it has been overrun by a shock wave propagating through the cluster. Such interactions may be useful as lamp posts to reveal the physics of radio galaxies and of galaxy clusters.

Research in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Minnesota covers a range of topics from efforts to understand the births, lives, and deaths of individual stars to the wider study of massive clusters of galaxies. Computational efforts focus on how stars evolve as well as the astrophysics of galaxy clusters. Optical and infrared observers use the 11.8-meter Large Binocular Telescope, the 6.5-meter MMT telescope, and space-based facilities to address questions about galaxy evolution from nearby dwarf galaxies to high redshift galaxy populations, the nature of comets, massive stellar evolution, nova and supernova explosions, and even individual stars at high redshift. Radio and X-ray observational work includes an effort to understand supernova remnants and galaxy clusters, while gamma-ray telescopes are used to probe active galactic nuclei.  Gravitational lensing by galaxies and galaxy clusters is also a significant focus.

Galaxies & Clusters and the Interstellar Medium

Tom Jones – Dynamics of Clusters

Photo credit Brian, O'Neill, T. W. Jones, Chris Nolting and Peter Mendygral, 2019 Simulation of radio galaxy jets propagating through an intergalactic wind.
Photo credit Brian, O’Neill, T. W. Jones, Chris Nolting and Peter Mendygral, 2019
Simulation of radio galaxy jets propagating through an intergalactic wind.

Dr Tom Jones is a theoretical astrophysicist working primarily on problems that involve study of fluid dynamics, turbulence, plasma processes and the resulting acceleration, transport, and emissions of high energy particles (cosmic rays). His focus includes the formation of galaxy clusters and diagnostic signatures of the dynamics of the hot plasmas that fill the clusters. Much of his work involves numerical simulations. The example image is a volume rendering showing the distribution of magnetic field in a 3D MHD simulation of a radio galaxy that has encountered a strong crosswind, as is common for radio galaxies in clusters.

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