Current graduate student in extra-galactic astronomy
Betsey Adams is a graduate student in astronomy working with Professor Martha Haynes and Professor Riccardo Giovanelli. She is interested in how galaxies form and evolve, especially the lowest mass galaxies. She uses data from the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey to study the gas content of galaxies.
An outstanding problem in cosmology and galaxy formation is the discrepancy between the number of small dark matter halos predicted by simulations of the Universe and observations of luminous low mass galaxies. Generally, this is explained as the smallest dark matter halos having weak gravitational potentials that lose their baryons(stars, gas, dust, etc.) through a variety of astrophysical processes. While the big picture is understood, there are still a lot of details astronomers are figuring out. They are interested in the processes that affect galaxies and because they want to make the cosmological models are correct.
Betsey is searching through the ALFALFA survey data for gas-rich low mass galaxies within the Local Group of galaxies that have been undetected until now. Studying these systems will help increase the understanding of what processes impact the formation of low mass galaxies.
Betsey believes an important part of being an astronomer is sharing astronomy with others. She has been a teaching assistant for general astronomy courses here at Cornell. She is also involved in public outreach efforts, including answers questions about astronomy submitted via email at the Ask an Astronomer website and organizing the associated podcast.
Betsey was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2007.