Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Ming Sun

Committee Member

James A. Miller

Committee Member

Richard Lieu

Committee Member

Massimiliano Bonamente

Committee Member

Stephen A. Walker


Galaxies--Evolution, Stars--Formation, Hubble Space Telescope (Spacecraft)


Even at over 30 years after its launch, HST still provides cutting-edge data in the optical, especially with its imaging cameras WFC3 and ACS. We present a pipeline to reduce and study the WFC3 and ACS data on nearby galaxies. Particularly, the results on an archetypal galaxy undergoing RPS, ESO 137-001, in the nearby cluster Abell 3627, are discussed in detail. ESO 137-001 is known to host a prominent tail caused by RPS that is detected in many bands from X-rays, Hα to CO. The HST data reveal significant features indicative of RPS such as asymmetric surface brightness and dust profiles as well as many blue young star complexes in the tail. We study the correlation between the blue young star complexes from HST, H ii regions from Hα (MUSE) and dense molecular clouds from CO (ALMA). The correlation between the HST blue star clusters and the H ii regions is very good, while their correlation with the dense CO clumps are typically not good. In comparison to the Starburst99+Cloudy model, many blue regions are found to be young (< 10 Myr) and the total star formation (SF) rate in the tail is 0.3 - 0.6 M⊙/yr for sources measured with ages less than 100 Myr, about 40% of SF rate in the galaxy. We also demonstrate the importance of including nebular emissions and a nebular to stellar extinction correction factor when comparing the model to the broadband data. Our work demonstrates the importance of the HST data to constrain the SF history in the tail, with the quantitative results for ESO 137-001’s tail presented. Future sample works with HST can constrain the general SF history in stripped tails. To emphasize the extendable utility of this analysis pipeline, we also present preliminary results for some other galaxies, including NGC 5044, D100, and M87. The pipeline built from this work will be applied on more HST data in the future and provides a key starting component for future research projects with the HST data at the UAH.



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