Theses Doctoral

Evolution of Neutral Hydrogen Properties of Galaxies With Respect to Large-Scale Structure Over One-Third the Age of the Universe

Blue Bird, Julia AM

Measurements of hydrogen are important in our understanding of the Universe. Following reionization at z ∼ 6, most of the hydrogen outside galaxies is in an ionized state. Within galaxies, hydrogen passes through a neutral phase as it cools and collapses into molecular hydrogen and then to stars. This work centers around how galactic reservoirs of neutral hydrogen (HI) evolve over cosmic time. We know that cosmic star formation peaks at z ∼ 2 and sharply declines to the present day, yet we know very little about the gas reservoirs in individual galaxies that lead to star formation through these redshifts. The Very Large Array’s (VLA) recent upgrade has made it possible to probe a large instantaneous bandwidth with HI imaging surveys beyond the local Universe. The COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES) is a 1000-hour program using the Karl G. Jansky VLA that will image HI in a redshift range of 0 < z < 0.45. With our first epoch of data, we study the galaxy properties of a sample of ten nearby galaxies.

We find that our data follow known scaling relations. Both theory and observations suggest that large-scale structure impacts galaxy evolution in addition to known trends in local density. We find that galaxy spins tend to be aligned with cosmic web filaments and a hint of the predicted transition mass associated with the spin angle alignment. With our second epoch of data from the CHILES survey, we probe the high-redshift regime. We present two new HI detections at z = 0.257 and z = 0.258, plus a stacked result at z ∼ 0.36. We combine these results with the previously published CHILES samples. This provides, for the first time, a continuous look at directly detected HI in emission over redshift range 0 < z < 0.45. We strengthen our epoch one comic web results, finding a perpendicular galaxy spin alignment with the cosmic web for a high-mass HI detection and a parallel galaxy spin alignment for a gas-rich low-mass HI detection embedded within a cosmic web filament. Having HI content, morphology, and kinematics, along with knowledge of the large-scale environments across substantial cosmic time spanning one-third the age of the Universe, will help shed light on the overall origin and fate of gas in galaxies.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Van Gorkom, Jacqueline H.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 8, 2021