Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics and Astronomy


Chris Martin


Inner galaxy, Astrophysics, Radiative transfer, Turbulence, Milky Way galaxy, Herschel, Velocity centroids


This thesis discusses research being done to understand the inner parts of the Milky Way Galaxy. We already know that there are dense star clouds, a supermassive black hole, and a large bar structure, but much of the inner galaxy is shrouded in mystery. Dust absorption, for one thing, prevents us from seeing the galactic center directly with our eyes.

To help understand the elusive inner Milky Way, we examine radio telescope data taken in Antarctica by Oberlin College Professor Chris Martin. His gigahertz radio observations were already analyzed to help understand how gas funnels into the Milky Way's supermassive black hole. We study this data further to characterize turbulence and predict how hot or cold the gas is.

The analysis of this data will also help prepare for the next thing: Herschel Space Observatory. This European telescope is scheduled to be launched in late April and will begin taking data in the fall of 2009. Chris Martin was granted 125 hours of observation time on the telescope to study the Inner Milky Way.

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