Blazars, Quasars, and Swift

Swift was the first satellite I worked on at Goddard Space Flight Center. I designed the thermal controller used to regulate the temperature of the detector array in the Burst Alert Telescope, the bias power regulators for the detectors, and the ultra-quiet power supplies for the detector electronics. Here’s some of the science done with the Burst Alert Telescope.

Video Credit: NASA

Black Holes and Star Formation

The supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies draw from the disks of gas and dust that orbit them. Massive jets of matter result that affect star formation locally and farther afield. This animation shows a model of that interaction. Watch as the jets and winds from a supermassive black hole affect its host galaxy and the space hundreds of thousands of light-years away over millions of years.

Video Credit: STScI

Mergers and Acquisitions

NGC6240NGC 6240 is a cosmic catastrophe in its final throes. It’s a titanic collision of galaxies throwing distorted tidal tails of stars, gas, and dust and undergoing massive bursts of star formation. The two supermassive black holes in the original galactic cores will also coalesce into a single, even more massive black hole. Eventually, only one large galaxy will remain.

Image Credit: NASA