Jennifer Donovan

Columbia University, PhD Candidate

Getting to Know Elliptical Galaxies

Abstract: While elliptical galaxies look nothing like our own Milky Way, massive ellipticals contain most of the stars in the local universe. I will discuss this important category of galaxies, from its least massive members -- the dwarf ellipticals -- to its biggest versions, the cD galaxies at the centers of galaxy clusters. Historically, these systems used to be treated as simple objects due to their seemingly uncomplicated shapes, but this is no longer the case. Finally, the evolution of elliptical galaxies through time is a current subject of much research, and I will give an overview of how we think these systems came to look the way they do.