A Definitive Study of the Circumnuclear Molecular and Ionized Gas in Seyfert Galaxies


I intend to work with Dr. Erin Hicks during the school year 2020-21 on a research project that will analyze and map Seyfert galaxies based on the quantity and position of multiple gas phases residing within these galaxies. This will demonstrate how the characteristics of the circumnuclear gas in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) influence the growth of the supermassive black hole, thus helping us analyze the cycle of fueling the AGN phase of galaxy evolution. This analysis will help gain headway in understanding how galaxies and their black holes coevolve, something we have come to understand to be a fundamental component of shaping galaxies into what we see today. The question behind the coevolution of black holes and their host galaxies remains a major mystery in modern astrophysics and my research will provide insight to answering this question. The goals of this project are highly relevant to NASA’s Cosmic Origins Program and to supporting primary science drivers for future NASA facilities, such as the James Webb Space Telescope.


Name: Cassidy Berger, Undergraduate Student

Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage

Major: Mathematics

Mentor: Erin Hicks, ekhicks@alaska.edu

Award: Apprenticeship

Funding Period: 2020 to 2021