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By Riley Owens, Physics, Astrophysics, and Mathematics
Advisor: Matthew Bayliss
Presentation ID: 88
Abstract: Lyman α (Lyα) radiation is emitted by neutral Hydrogen gas when its electron cascades from the first energy level to the ground state. Many processes can cause or affect Lyα radiation, such as an incident Lyα light ray which is scattered, another, more energetic light ray, or the recombination of ionized Hydrogen and an electron. Since Hydrogen is so abundant, this means Lyα is among the most common emission features in the observable universe. Further, it also frequently interacts and rescatters in its environment due to this abundance, meaning an enormous amount of physical information about the radiation source and its surroundings is contained within the observed radiation. We present a spectroscopic field of the 'Sunburst Arc' galaxy, which includes the Lyα emission feature. We suggest this as an effective probe of the galaxy's internal structure due to the Lyα radiation's radiative transfer process, which shows spatial variation across the arc. Future surveys could lead to a direct, improved mapping of the galaxy's structure and possibly hint at once-common gas morphologies which could have contributed to the process of reionization.