The goal of this project is to observe a sample of Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) to assess the properties of the interstellar medium, galaxy dynamical state, and nature of the obscured nuclear regions. LIRGs are primarily interacting or merger disk galaxies undergoing enhanced star formation and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) activity, possibly triggered as the objects transform into massive S0 and elliptical galaxy merger remnants. The program is designed to assess the manner in which star formation and AGN activity evolve as a function of nuclear obscuration and merger stage.
Broader impacts of the work include training of undergraduate and graduate students. Undergrads will be selected from the student body of Howard University, a Historically Black College/University. The PI also plans outreach to local K-12 schools to educate students on cutting-edge astronomy being done in the Charlottesville area.