Observations of Starburst Galaxies: Science and Supporting Technology
- Author(s): Laag, Edward
- Advisor(s): Williams, Alan E
- et al.
In chapter 1 we report on the development of wavefront reconstruction and control algorithms for multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) and the results of testing them in the laboratory under conditions that simulate an 8 meter class telescope. The UCO/Lick Observatory Laboratory for Adaptive Optics Multi-Conjugate testbed allows us to test wide field of view adaptive optics systems as they might be instantiated in the near future on giant telescopes. In particular, we have been investigating the performance of MCAO using five laser beacons for wavefront sensing and a minimum variance algorithm for control of two conjugate deformable mirrors. We have demonstrated improved Strehl ratio and enlarged field of view performance when compared to conventional AO techniques. We have demonstrated improved MCAO performance with the implementation of a routine that minimizes the generalized isoplanatism when turbulent layers do not correspond to deformable mirror conjugate altitudes. Finally, we have demonstrated suitability of the system for closed-loop operation when configured to feed back conditional mean estimates of wavefront residuals rather than the directly measured residuals. This technique has recently been referred to as the ``pseudo-open-loop'' control law in the literature. Chapter 2 introduces the Multi-wavelength Extreme Starburst Sample (MESS), a new catalog of 138 star-forming galaxies (0.1 < z < 0.3) optically selected from the SDSS using emission line strength diagnostics to have SFR greater than 50 solar mass per year based on a Kroupa IMF. The MESS was designed to complement samples of nearby star forming galaxies such as the luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs), and ultraviolet luminous galaxies (UVLGs). Observations using the multiband imaging photometer (MIPS; 24, 70, and 160 micron channels) on the Spitzer Space Telescope indicate the MESS galaxies have IR luminosities similar to those of LIRGs, with an estimated median L_TIR of 3 times 10^11 solar luminosities. The selection criteria for the MESS suggests they may be less obscured than typical far-IR selected galaxies with similar estimated SFRs. We estimate the SFRs based directly on luminosities to determine the agreement for these methods in the MESS.