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  1. This White Paper highlights the role Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) play within the astronomy profession, addressing issues related to employment, resources and support, research opportunities and productivity, and educational and societal impacts.
  2. As part of our Survey of the Circumgalactic Regions of the ALFALFA Galaxies (CRAG), we report on the analysis of QSO sightlines that pass within ~100 kpc of ALFALFA galaxies that show no discernable evidence of a circumgalactic medium (CGM) as probed by the presence of Lyα absorption. Many of these corresponding galaxies reside in group or cluster environments, in agreement with recent studies that indicate the nearby galaxy environment plays a significant role in determining the physical conditions of the CGM. However, we also identify a sample of isolated ALFALFA galaxies that show no evidence of HI within ~100 kpc - suggesting the physical distribution of the CGM around these galaxies is patchy and non-uniform, even within relatively small volumes around the galaxies. We explore photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in an attempt to characterize the properties these galaxies and the environments in which they reside. This work has been supported by NSF grant AST-1716569.
  3. As part of our Survey of the Circumgalactic Regions of the ALFALFA Galaxies (CRAG), we report on the identification and analysis of strong HI absorption in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) of the ALFALFA galaxies as identified in archival HST/COS G130M QSO spectroscopic observations. We characterize the HI and metal content of these strong absorbers and explore the physical distribution of the CGM for these galaxies. Using photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we analyze the environments of these galaxies. We also summarize the gas-galaxy connection for this sample of strong HI absorbers and HI-rich galaxies. This work has been supported by NSF grant AST-1716569.
  4. We report the initial findings of our Survey of the Circumgalactic Regions of the ALFALFA Galaxies (CRAG). We combine the blindly detected 21-cm HI sources of the ALFALFA catalog with archival HST/COS G130M QSO spectroscopic observations taken from the HST Spectroscopic Legacy Archive to quantify and characterize the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around these local, HI-rich galaxies. We find the covering factor of HI, as probed by Lyα, to be near unity within 50 kpc of all ALFALFA galaxies, regardless of HI mass, MHI. However, we have identified a significant correlation between the extent of the HI-bearing CGM beyond 50 kpc and MHI of the ALFALFA galaxies. We find the galaxies with log(MHI/M☉) > 9.5 give rise to Lyα covering factors > 0.5 out to 300 kpc, indicating the CGM of the most HI-rich galaxies of the ALFALFA sample fills a significant volume. At the same time we find the galaxies with log(MHI/M☉) < 9.5 give rise to substantively lower Lyα covering factors beyond 50 kpc. Most notably, the log(MHI/M☉) < 7.5 galaxies give rise to a Lyα covering factor < 0.3 beyond 50 kpc and negligible covering factors beyond 150 kpc. This work has been supported by NSF grant AST-1716569.
  5. We present results from a highly successful model of faculty development and undergraduate research and education, the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team (UAT), an NSF-sponsored 23-institution collaboration. We recommend that granting agencies identify funding resources to support similar efforts for other large-scale scientific projects.
  6. The Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey (APPSS) will provide strong observational constraints on the mass-infall rate onto the main filament of the Pisces-Perseus Supercluster. The survey data consist of HI emission-line spectra of cluster galaxy candidates, obtained primarily at the Arecibo Observatory (with ALFA as part of the ALFALFA Survey and with the L-Band Wide receiver as part of APPSS observations). Here we present the details of the data reduction process and spectral-analysis techniques used to determine if a galaxy candidate is at a velocity consistent with the Supercluster, as well as the detected HI-flux and rotational velocity of the galaxy, which will be used to estimate the corresponding HI-mass. We discuss the results of a preliminary analysis on a subset of the APPSS sample, corresponding to 98 galaxies located within ~1.5° of DEC = +35.0°, with 65 possible detections. We also highlight several interesting emission-line features and galaxies discovered during the reduction and analysis process and layout the future of the APPSS project. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-1211005 and AST-1637339.
  7. The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) is a consortium of 20 institutions across the US and Puerto Rico, founded to promote undergraduate research and faculty development within the extragalactic ALFALFA HI blind survey project and follow-up programs. The objective of the UAT is to provide opportunities for its members to develop expertise in the technical aspects of observational radio spectroscopy, its associated data analysis, and the motivating science. Partnering with Arecibo Observatory, the UAT has worked with more than 280 undergraduates and 26 faculty to date, offering 8 workshops onsite at Arecibo (148 undergraduates), observing runs at Arecibo (69 undergraduates), remote observing runs on campus, undergraduate research projects based on Arecibo science (120 academic year and 185 summer projects), and presentation of results at national meetings such as the AAS (at AAS229: Ball et al., Collova et al., Davis et al., Miazzo et al., Ruvolo et al, Singer et al., Cannon et al., Craig et al., Koopmann et al., O'Donoghue et al.). 40% of the students and 45% of the faculty participants have been women and members of underrepresented groups. More than 90% of student alumni are attending graduate school and/or pursuing a career in STEM.more »42% of those pursuing graduate degrees in Physics or Astronomy are women.In this presentation, we summarize the UAT program and the current research efforts of UAT members based on Arecibo science, including multiwavelength followup observations of ALFALFA sources, the UAT Collaborative Groups Project, the Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs (SHIELD), and the Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey (APPSS). This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, AST-121105, and AST-1637339.« less
  8. The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) is a consortium of 20 institutions across the US and Puerto Rico, founded to promote undergraduate research and faculty development within the extragalactic ALFALFA HI blind survey project and follow-up programs. The objective of the UAT is to provide opportunities for its members to develop expertise in the technical aspects of observational radio spectroscopy, its associated data analysis, and the motivating science. Partnering with Arecibo Observatory, the UAT has worked with more than 280 undergraduates and 26 faculty to date, offering 8 workshops onsite at Arecibo (148 undergraduates), observing runs at Arecibo (69 undergraduates), remote observing runs on campus, undergraduate research projects based on Arecibo science (120 academic year and 185 summer projects), and presentation of results at national meetings such as the AAS (at AAS229: Ball et al., Collova et al., Davis et al., Miazzo et al., Ruvolo et al, Singer et al., Cannon et al., Craig et al., Koopmann et al., O'Donoghue et al.). 40% of the students and 45% of the faculty participants have been women and members of underrepresented groups. More than 90% of student alumni are attending graduate school and/or pursuing a career in STEM.more »42% of those pursuing graduate degrees in Physics or Astronomy are women.In this presentation, we summarize the UAT program and the current research efforts of UAT members based on Arecibo science, including multiwavelength followup observations of ALFALFA sources, the UAT Collaborative Groups Project, the Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs (SHIELD), and the Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey (APPSS). This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, AST-121105, and AST-1637339.« less