Dr. James Lowenthal

May 8, 2018

7:30 PM, Peyton Hall

The May meeting will be held on the 8th at 7:30PM in Peyton Hall, in the auditorium (Room 145), on the Princeton University campus.

Featured Speaker: The featured speaker is Dr. James Lowenthal of Smith College. His talk is on “Stalking the most luminous galaxies in the Universe with Hubble and the Large Millimeter Telescope”

Most stars that formed in the first half of the Universe’s lifetime were made in massive, dusty starburst galaxies that are largely hidden from view but shine brightly in far-infrared wavelengths. The FIR light from those galaxies is red-shifted by the Universe’s expansion into the sub-millimeter. We used the Planck satellite to select the most luminous sub-millimeter galaxies at high red-shift and refined the list and confirmed them with a battery of other telescopes including the Herschel satellite, the Very Large Array, the WISE satellite, and the 50-m Large Millimeter Telescope. None of those provided a sharp view of the distant dusty starbursts. New images from Hubble Space Telescope, however, have unveiled a spectacular view: nearly all the brightest SMGs at high red-shift are strongly gravitationally lensed by massive intervening galaxies and groups or clusters of galaxies: most show simple or complex Einstein rings, while others show giant arcs implying lensing masses M>10^14 solar masses. These new images, supplemented with follow-up data from the 8-m Gemini South telescope and ALMA, provide a path to study the most extreme star-forming galaxies known at spatial scales of 100 pc or even less, letting us address a fundamental question: what process fuels the extraordinary activity of SMGs?

Member Talk: This month’s 10 minute talk is by Bill Murray on Stellafane. If you don’t know about this event, you will after Bill’s talk!

We are looking for members to give a talk for next year. Maybe you’re doing something astronomically interesting during the summer break? Perhaps you want to share why astronomy is so fascinating to you? If you are interested in giving a talk please contact

Pre-Meeting Dinner: Prior to the meeting there will be a meet-the-speaker dinner at 6PM at Winberie’s in Palmer Square. If you’re interested in attending please contact no later than noon on May 8.

We look forward to seeing you at the dinner and at the meeting!