The Turbulent Life of the Circumgalactic Medium

The circumgalactic medium (CGM) contains the fuel for future star formation and the record of past feedback, making it uniquely sensitive to the physics of baryonic flows. Characterizing the diffuse multiphase CGM across cosmic time holds a key to unveiling the drivers of galaxy growth.  While high-resolution absorption spectroscopy of distant QSOs continues to provide unsurpassed sensitivity for probing the physical and thermodynamic conditions of tenuous gas along the QSO sightlines, wide-field integral field spectrographs have also enabled observations of the CGM in emission, providing contiguous 2D maps of gas density and velocity distributions.  In this talk, I will highlight a few ongoing research projects at UChicago, designed to probe the complex interplay between galaxies and their CGM by combining 2D emission maps with 1D absorption line observations. A particularly exciting development is our ability to constrain the turbulent energy spectrum in the CGM over four decades in spatial scales. I will discuss the implications of our findings as well as the future prospect.

hsiao-wen chen (Univ. of Chicago)
Jing Wang
Friday, December 8, 2023 - 3:30PM to Friday, December 8, 2023 - 4:30PM
HSIAO-WEN CHEN is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include the formation and evolution of galaxies across cosmic time, chemical enrichment in the circumgalactic and intergalactic gas, and transient phenomena. She uses absorption-line spectroscopy of distant light sources (quasars/gamma-ray burst afterglows) to probe diffuse gas around galaxies, and combines absorption-line observations with galaxy survey data to understand the recycling of baryonic matter between star-forming regions and dark intergalactic medium. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, she held a postdoctoral position at Carnegie Observatories and a Hubble Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was named a fellow of American Astronomical Society in 2022.