Lisa May Walker

APO GBT Thames


I am a seventh-year astronomy graduate student at the University of Virginia.

Interacting galaxies are absolutely fascinating -- gas and dust slamming together, while stars pass through, concerned only with the pull of gravity. There are many stunning images of galaxy collisions, which is what initially drew me to extragalactic astronomy. But these beautiful pictures aren't the entire story. What happens when more than two galaxies come together at once? What happens when galaxies are close together, but aren't actually in the process of colliding? Both of these situations occur in compact groups of galaxies, which are the focus of my thesis.

The top left picture shown above is from an observing run at Apache Point Observatory; I'm preparing the filters I needed for the night. In the top right image I am at the base of the dish of the GBT, a 100m-wide radio dish (that's the size of a football field!). The bottom picture shows me crossing the Thames on the Golden Jubilee Bridge, with Big Ben and Parliament behind me. In addition to astronomy, I enjoy reading, musicals, ballet, and traveling.

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