Written Proposal

Project: Looking for Dark Matter in the Rotation Curves of the Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram

Department of Natural Sciences: Physics

Project adviser:  Dr. Scott Schneider

Researched by: Ceré L. Rettig

E-mail: crettig@ltu.edu

Ceré L. Rettig June 2014

What is a galaxy rotation curve?

Galaxy rotation curves are a graphical analysis obtained from the magnitude of the orbital velocities of visible stars in a particular galaxy and their radial distance from the galaxies center, typically depicted with a scatter plot.


What is the Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram?

The Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram is a way to classify galaxies.  Mr. Edwin Hubble believed that the elliptical galaxies (E0, E3, E5, E7) are “early galaxies” and that the lenticular (S0), and spiral galaxies (Sa, Sb, Sc, SBa, SBb, SBc) or “late galaxies” evolved from the elliptical galaxies.  In this model the lenticular galaxies are viewed as a transition type between the elliptical and spiral galaxies.  While this evolution model has been found to be incorrect, this is a good diagram used for galaxy classification.

Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram

What is dark matter?

Dark matter accounts for effects that appear to be the result of mass where such mass cannot be seen.  It attracts or exerts a gravitational inward pull on the visible matter surrounding it.

Are we sure it is not dark energy?

Yes, because dark energy repels or pushes outward.

What is already known about spiral galaxy rotation curves?

Rotation curves are an essential tool for determining mass distribution in spiral galaxies, and provide fundamental information for understanding the evolution and formation of spiral galaxies.

The existing programs that will be used were created by:

Dane Falberg is another student at Lawrence Technological University who is working on an astrophysics project advised by Dr. Scott Schneider. I will use his project to understand, and build my own genetic algorithm program using Java.

Project Objectives:t.

  • Research galaxy rotation curves for the six different types of spiral galaxies.
  • Investigate mathematical models for ordinary matter and dark matter to generate rotation curves.
  • Research genetic algorithms.
  • Study Dane Falberg’s programing with genetic algorithms.
  • Create the software, to fit galaxy rotation.
  • If time is available see if this process can be done with lenticular galaxies.


J.Q. Feng and C.F. Gallo, Res. Astron. Astrophys. 11 1429-1449, 1 (2011).
P. Charbonneau, Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 101 309-334, 1 (1995).
Y. Sofue and V. Rubin, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 39 181-0015, 1(2000).

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Senior Project Proposal Requirements

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Senior Project Written Proposal FINAL CLR

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Senior Project Written Proposal Evaluation Rubric

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Final Proposal_Cere Rettig

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