Dr. Kathleen Flint Ehm
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, April 4, 2008

Dwarf Satellites: The search for the Universe's smallest galaxies

Anywhere from one-tenth to one-millionth the size of our Milky Way, dwarf galaxies are the smallest and faintest in the Universe. Seen to swarm around giant galaxies, they are also the most numerous. Their existence and relative numbers provide some of the most important constraints we have on the details of how galaxies form but unfortunately they are the most elusive to find and study. The dwarf satellite population in the vicinity of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and our neighbor, Andromeda, provide the best studied sample of these tiny galaxies and yet the numbers still do not match theoretical predictions. Does this spell doom for the standard cold dark matter model? Or, could we live amongst a swarm of truly invisible galaxies?

In the next of the popular series Astronomy Open Night, Dr. Kathleen Flint Ehm will discuss the search for dwarf galaxies in the nearby Universe. She will highlight the recent explosion of discoveries within our own Local Group of galaxies and examine the implications for how such small but dark matter-rich objects might form.

Dr. Flint is project manager for the National Postdoctoral Association in Washington, DC, and an adjunct professor in Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook. She received her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz and was a Carnegie Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Dr. Flint came to Stony Brook in 2005 from the National Science Foundation where she was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She lives in Port Jefferson Station.