On November 30th 2019 NJAA celebrated a long-time member and coveted "Qualified Observer" (QO), Dr. Mitchell Revalski, as he repeated his PhD dissertation to a near full house of members, and guests from a Princeton Cosmology Group as well as family and friends.
NJAA President, Jim Roselli, welcomed everyone; and lifetime member Teri Bellows, his high school teacher and Astronomy Club advisor, introduced Mitch to the audience. She led with a well coordinated slide show of Mitch in his youth, always helping teach others through his passion with astronomy; which began in the sixth grade after joining NJAA.
The club also will produce a professional-quality video of his talk about galaxy evolution, with a focus on analyzing the supermassive black holes (SMBH) at the center of many galaxies.
Dr. Revalski discussed his research, saying that some galaxies, appear to have SMBH consuming gas from the galaxy, growing in mass but also shining as luminous Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). These phenomena are caused by intense ionized radiation released as the SMBH consumes the gas. The radiation interacts with gas in the central bulge, causing it to be forced away in a powerful outflow of excited gas.
Mitch explained that he focused on analyzing data from the Hubble Space Telescope and computer models to study nearby galaxies with AGN to study the changes in the outflow and impacts on the galaxy as the gas travels through it.
He also discussed the various techniques for determining the mass of the excited gas that can be used and how these techniques impact the conclusion of studies.
After concluding, Mitch then followed with a question and answer period that many members seemed to relish; requiring that we call a break, so people could eat the large layout of food that Tim and Diane graciously coordinated.
But before people left their seats Keith Marley asked everyone to remain seated, then he placed a covered item on the table in the front of the room. He explained how proud NJAA is for all that Mitch has contributed to the club through the years and how much more he will contribute to astronomy in the future ~ then he removed the cover to display a beautiful plaque, and announced that Mitch will receive an Honorary Lifetime Membership to NJAA.
It was a wonderful event.