Dr. Pasquale Temi

December 22, 2006

SETI Institute Principal Investigator

“Probably the main issue in the study of early-type galaxies,” says astrophysicist Pasquale Temi, “is to understand their formation and evolution.” Recent studies of such elliptical galaxies show that the ages of their stars span a much greater range than previously thought—from a few billions of years old, to as old as the age of the universe. On the scale of a human lifetime, these galaxies seem stable and long-lasting. But on the timescale of the universe, it now seems that elliptical galaxies may have formed through cosmic mergers. By studying the infrared emissions given off by interstellar dust, Temi seeks to understand the birth of these galaxies. “Ironically,” he says, “it is the somewhat boring regularity of elliptical galaxies that makes them ideal venues to study the origin of dust and its interstellar life cycle.”


- SETI Institute Explorer, Special Edition 2005