Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy


Aaron J. Romanowsky


color-magnitude diagram, Coma cluster, SDSS, stellar populations, Subaru, ultra-diffuse galaxies

Subject Areas

Astronomy; Physics; Astrophysics


Ultra-diffuse galaxies are a novel type of galaxies discovered first in the Coma cluster. These objects are characterized simultaneously by large sizes and by very low counts of constituent stars. Conflicting theories have been proposed to explain how these large diffuse galaxies could have survived in the harsh environment of clusters. To date, thousands of these new galaxies have been identified in cluster environments. However, further studies are required to understand their relationship to the known giant and dwarf classes of galaxies. The purpose of this study is to compare the trends of inner and outer populations of normal members of the Coma cluster and ultra-diffuse galaxies in color--magnitude space. The present work used several astronomical catalogs to identify the member galaxies based on the coordinates of their positions and to extract available colors and magnitudes. We obtained correlations to convert colors and magnitudes from different systems into the common Sloan Digital Sky Survey system to facilitate the comparative analysis. We showed the quantitative relations describing the color-magnitude trends of galaxies in the core and the outskirts of the cluster. We confirmed that the inner and outer populations of ultra-diffuse galaxies exhibit an offset similar to the normal red sequence galaxies. We presented an initial assessment of stellar population ages and metallicities which correspond to the obtained color offsets. We surveyed the available images of the cluster for outliers, merger candidates, and candidate ultra-diffuse galaxies. We conclude that ultra-diffuse galaxies are an important part of the Coma cluster evolutionary history and future work is needed especially in obtaining spectroscopic data of a larger number of these dim galaxies.