Welcome to Dr. Chris O'Dea's Home Page

ASTR1810, Introduction to Astronomy: The Magnificent Universe (previously Phys1810, some algebra required.) 2015, 2018
Phys1830, Perspectives on the Universe (fun astronomy course, light on math). 2016, 2017, 2018
Phys1020, General Physics 1 (algebra based, appropriate for Life Sciences students). 2018, 2019
Phys1030, General Physics 2 (algebra based, appropriate for Life Sciences students). 2016, 2017, 2019
Phy4300/7440, Radio Astronomy (for when you get serious about astronomy). 2016, 2017
Phys4230/7660, Phenomenology of Galaxies Filling in for Prof. Jayanne English. 2018

Professional Interests:
While interesting in its own right, it has now become clear that Astrophysics contains some of the most compelling scientific challenges (e.g., the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy) which will result in fundamental advances in Physics. My own research is centered on investigating how super massive Black Holes influence their host galaxies, and how the galaxies influence the properties of the Black Hole in turn. We now know that massive black holes form as part of the process of galaxy formation with about 0.1% of the mass of the galaxy going into the central black hole. Whenever gas in the galaxy is able to penetrate down to the vicinity of the black hole large amounts of energy are released. A bright disk of gas (accretion disk) can form if the amount of gas is sufficiently high. In addition, in some cases outflows (jets) of hot plasma and magnetic fields are ejected at velocities approaching the speed of light carrying large amounts of energy. These outflows emit at radio wavelengths - hence the name "radio source". Galaxies in which the black hole and accretion disk are generating radiation and/or a powerful outflow are called Active Galactic Nuclei. I investigate the process of providing gas to the black hole, the formation of the jets, the propagation of the radio source and the interaction of the radio source with the environment. The transfer of energy from the radio source to the environment turns out to provide the solution to a number of outstanding problems in galaxy formation and clusters of galaxies.

I have research projects for undergraduate and graduate students

Complete List of Papers on NASA/ADS

Selected Papers by Topic

Radio Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Black Holes and Their Relation to the Host Galaxy

  • Quasars, their host galaxies and their central black holes
  • Toward Understanding the Fanaroff-Riley Dichotomy in Radio Source Morphology and Power
  • 3C 236: Radio Source, Interrupted?
  • Infrared Diagnostics for the Extended 12 micron Sample of Seyferts
  • Misalignment of the Jet and the Normal to the Dusty Torus in the Broad Absorption Line QSO FIRST J155633.8+351758

    Physics of the IntraCluster Medium

  • Constraints on molecular gas in cooling flows and powerful radio galaxies
  • Multifrequency VLA observations of PKS 0745 - 191 - The archetypal 'cooling flow' radio source?
  • An Infrared Survey of Brightest Cluster Galaxies. II. Why are Brightest Cluster Galaxies Forming Stars?
  • Detection of extended H I absorption toward PKS 2322-123 in Abell 2597
  • Hubble Space Telescope STIS Far-Ultraviolet Observations of the Central Nebulae in the Cooling-Core Clusters A1795 and A2597
  • Residual cooling and persistent star formation amid active galactic nucleus feedback in Abell 2597

    Propagation of Relativistic Jets

  • Astrophysical implications of the multifrequency VLA observations of NGC 1265
  • Constraints on bent beams in narrow angle tail radio sources
  • HST and MERLIN Observations of 3C 264---A Laboratory for Jet Physics and Unified Schemes
  • VLBA Observations of a Sample of Nearby FR I Radio Galaxies
  • Evolution of Global Properties of Powerful Radio Sources. I. Hydrodynamical Simulations in a Constant Density Atmosphere and Comparison with Self-similar Models
  • Hubble Space Telescope Observations of Dusty Filaments in Hercules A: Evidence for Entrainment