Department or Program

Physics and Astronomy


The purpose of this thesis is to strengthen our understanding of the mechanisms that shutdown star formation in massive galaxies. We present multi-band photometry for 12 massive galaxies that exhibit very fast gaseous outflows, very high star formation rates, and extremely compact sizes. These galaxies are thought to be in the process of quenching their star formation as their interstellar gas supplies are being rapidly exhausted by the formation of stars and the expulsion of gaseous outflows. Studying these unique galaxies may provide insight into how star formation in massive galaxies is quenched more generally. Our work utilizes images from the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope in three filters (F475W, F814W, and F1600W). To spatially resolve the stellar mass within these galaxies, we need to extract information on spatial scales that are smaller than the diffraction limit. This is accomplished by fitting models to the light profiles of the galaxies to estimate the sizes and fluxes associated with the central starburst. Since we have images in multiple filters, we are able to estimate the stellar mass of the central starbursts and consequently their escape velocities for the very first time. Having accurate estimates of the escape velocities allows us to test the viability of various star-formation feedback models. Our results are consistent with a range of feedback models that include radiation pressure from massive stars, momentum input from supernova explosions, and other physical mechanisms associated with stellar processes.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Diamond-Stanic, Aleksandar

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Open Access

Available to all.