Alberto Bolatto's Research

Alberto Bolatto

I am a professor at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Maryland, and part of the Laboratory for Millimeter-wave Astronomy (LMA). My main research focuses on galaxies, and I use ground and space facilities to study the effects of heavy element abundance on the physics of the interstellar medium, the relationship between gas, dust, and star formation, and the properties of dark matter galaxy halos. My interest is to understand the process of structure creation in the Universe, using nearby objects as laboratories in which to develop and test ideas. There are student involvement opportunities available in these and other ongoing projects.

ADS Listing for past 5 years

I lead the Survey Toward Infrared-bright Nearby Galaxies (STING), which uses the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) to image molecular gas in a sample of galaxies using the 12CO (J=1-0) transition. The STING galaxies are chosen from the IRAS catalog to uniformly sample the blue sequence of star forming galaxies in stellar mass. STING is a collaboration between co-investigators in all CARMA institutions: Maryland, Illinois, Berkeley, and Caltech.

STING Spitzer collage

The Magellanic Clouds
I lead S3MC and S4MC, two surveys of the Small Magellanic Cloud that use the Spitzer Space Telescope to study the Interstellar Medium and the stellar populations in this galaxy. I also participate in SAGE-SMC, a second generation imaging survey of the same galaxy, and HERITAGE (PI Margaret Meixner), a legacy project proposal to use the Herschel infrared observatory to study the Magellanic Clouds,as well as several collaborative projects using ground telescopes in Chile and Australia.

I am part of the Herschel Space Observatory legacy program Key Insights on Nearby Galaxies: a Far Infrared Survey with Herschel (KINGFISH; PIs Rob Kennicutt and Daniela Calzetti). This project will perform far infrared imaging and spectroscopy on a sample of galaxies based on the SINGS extragalactic survey. KINGFISH will measure the cold dust distribution and the emission lines of C+, N+, and O in a representative extragalactic sample.

M51 IRAC M51 optical

The Millimeter-wave Interferometric survey of Dwarf Galaxies used the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Interferometer (BIMA) to map the molecular gas distribution in small, nearby galaxies. The sample was selected from among the bright CO emitters studied by Leroy, Bolatto, Simon, and Blitz (2005). The panel shows the integrated intensity CO contours overlaid on the Digitized Sky Survey images of these galaxies (the Medusa merger is not a small galaxy, but it is also included in that image). The gray dashed circle shows the interferometer FOV. We are working at putting together these molecular gas data with measures of the star formation activity.

The Radio Interferometric Planet search (RIPL; PI Geoff Bower) targets 32 nearby M-type stars that are chromospherically active and emit in the radio. The search uses the VLBA network in conjunction with the GBT telescope to obtain 12 observations of each star over a span of 3 years. The positions of the stars are determined with accuracies of under 100 microarcseconds, allowing us to search for the reflex motion caused by Jupiter-mass planets. M-type dwarfs are the most common stars in the Galaxy, and are not well studied by radial-velocity planet searches due to the velocity perturbations induced by their activity.


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