Star formation is
pervasive across the universe. Understanding why some galaxies form
stars more quickly and in a greater quantity than other galaxies is a
fundamental question in astronomy.
I use a sample of distant
galaxies to investigate how star formation proceeds and how the
process of star formation affects the shape of galaxies. Specifically,
I use data from the Hubble and Keck telescopes to study how star
formation can cause bubbles of gas and dust to be blown out of
galaxies ("galactic winds").
I investigate the
prevalence of these galactic winds as a function of galaxy properties
and find that galaxies with a higher surface density of star formation
possess more galactic winds.
These findings imply that
high densities of stars (i.e., clusters of stars) are necessary in
order to expel gas and dust from galaxies.
By removing gas and dust
from galaxies, the fuel necessary for star formation is removed.
Galactic winds accordingly act as a feedback mechanism that regulates
star formation in galaxies.