Batcheldor, Daniel

Associate Professor
Physics and Space Sciences

Supermassive black holes lie at the heart of Dr. Batcheldor's research. These exotic objects, whose masses can reach billions of times that of the Sun, have been observed at, or near, the centers of galaxies. Dr. Batcheldor uses photometric, spectroscopic and polarimetric techniques to examine the role that supermassive black holes have played in the evolution of galaxies. How galaxies form and evolve is one of the greatest mysteries still remaining in contemporary astrophysics; do they coalesce from giant clouds of gas, or via huge cosmic collisions? Similarly, do supermassive black holes get their huge masses from the accretion of gas that produces the quasar and active galaxy phenomena, by merging with one another, or a mixture of the two? 


Personal Overview

In the last decade, important clues to these questions have been provided by both observation and theoretical predictions. First, seemingly tight correlations between the masses of central black holes and properties of the host galaxies have been observed. This lead Dr. Batcheldor to form "The M-Sigma Project", a program funded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, to determine the precise nature of these observed relations. If confirmed, this work will provide important evidence for the theory that black holes and galaxies are coeval. Second, models of supermassive black hole collisions using numerical relativity have predicted that post-merger black holes may be "kicked" from the centers of galaxies; Dr. Batcheldor is searching for the observational signature of such offsets.

The majority of Dr. Batcheldor's research requires spatial resolutions that are unobtainable on the ground. Consequently, he has become a frequent user of the Hubble Space Telescope, and has performed an on-orbit re-calibration of the NICMOS instrument to allow 2 micron imaging polarimetry at a level of one percent. However, working with members of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Dr. Batcheldor has recently shown that Hubble is reaching its limit in terms of answering the remaining, and varied, questions regarding supermassive black holes. Therefore, he is actively involved in developing the next generation of space-based detectors that are likely to be used on-board the space-based telescopes of the future.

Educational Background

BSc (Hons) Astronomy University of Hertfordshire 2001
Ph.D. Astrophysics University of Hertfordshire 2004

Current Courses

Physics 1 - Newtonian Dynamics

Physics 2 - Electricity & Magnetism

Observational Astronomy - Lecture-lab covering the celestial sphere and optical observations of stars to quasars.

Methods and Instrumentation - Telescope Optics, solid state detectors, data reduction techniques.

Astrophysics 1 - The Nature of Stars (undergraduate)

Astrophysics 2 - Galaxies and the Universe (undergraduate)

Astrophysics 2 - Cosmology & Large Scale Structures, Active Galactic Nuclei, Galactic Dynamics (graduate)

Professional Experience

Associate Professor. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2014+).

Assistant Professor. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2010-2014).

Director, Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (2014+).

Director, Olin Observatory. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2010+).

Associate Research Scientist. Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (2008-2009).

Adjunct Professor. Department of Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology (2008-2009).

Assistant Research Scientist. Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (2006-2008).

Post-doctoral Research Associate. Department of Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology (2005-2006).

Post-doctoral Research Associate. School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire (2005).

Support Astronomer. Isaac Newton Group, La Palma (1999-2000).

Additional Duties

Associate Department Head, Physics & Space Sciences.

Director, Olin Observatory.

Academic Honesty Committee, Chair.

Undergraduate Curriculum Committee PSS prepresentative.

Southeastern Associate for Research in Astronomy (SARA) Board member.

Student Astronomical Society Advisor.

Secular Student Alliance at Florida Tech, founder and Advisor.

Astronomy & Astrophysics Public Lecture Series co-ordinator.

Astronomy & Astrophysics program contact.

Coach, FIT Rugby.

Current Research

Reverberation Mapping of the size of the Dusty Tori in Active Galactic Nuclei - Spitzer Proposal ID #80120

The importance warm outflows in the most rapidly evolving galaxies in the local Universe -HST-GO-12934

Where do Black Holes get their kicks? - HST-AR-11771

Dynamical Hypermassive Black Hole Masses - HST-GO-11606

Resolving the Critical Ambiguities of the M-Sigma Relation - HST-AR-10935

An ACS Treasury Survey of the Coma cluster of galaxies - HST-GO-10861




Previous Research


The NICMOS Polarimetric Calibration - HST-GO-10839

The nuclear scattering geometry of Seyfert galaxies - HST-GO-10160

Selected Publications

Batcheldor, D at ADS
Batcheldor, D at Astro-ph

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2011ASPC..449...44BHigh Accuracy Imaging Polarimetry with NICMOS.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2011ApJ...738...90BNICMOS Polarimetry of "Polar-scattered" Seyfert 1 Galaxies.

Hammer, D. et al. 2010ApJS, 191, 143HThe HST/ACS Coma Cluster Survey. II. Data Description and Source Catalogs.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2010, ApJ, 717, L6. A Displaced Supermassive Black Hole in M87.

Batcheldor, D. 2010, ApJ, 711, L108. The M-Sigma Relation Derived from Sphere of Influence Arguments.

Batcheldor. D.; Koekemoer, A. M. 2009, PASP, v121, i885, pp.1245. The Future of Direct Supermassive Black Hole Mass Estimates.

Ramrez, E. et al. 2009, MNRAS, v339, i4, pp.2165. The nature of the near-infrared core source in 3C 433.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2009, PASP, v121, i876, pp.153. High Accuracy Near-infrared Imaging Polarimetry with NICMOS.

Koekemoer, A. M. et al. Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Science White Papers, no. 157. Tracing the Mass Buildup of Supermassive Black Holes and their Host Galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, v.79, p.1239 (2008). The M-Sigma Project.

Carter, D. et al. 2008, ApJS, v176, i2, pp.425. The Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys Coma Cluster Survey. I. Survey Objectives and Design.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2007, ApJ, v663, i2, pp.L85. How Special Are Brightest Cluster Galaxies? The Impact of Near-Infrared Luminosities on Scaling Relations for BCGs.

Pastorini, G. et al. 2007, A&A, v469, i2, pp.405. Supermassive black holes in the Sbc spiral galaxies NGC 3310, NGC 4303 and NGC 4258.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2007, ApJ, v661, i2, pp.70. Dominant Nuclear Outflow Driving Mechanisms in Powerful Radio Galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2006, PASP, v118, i842, pp.642. The NICMOS Polarimetric Calibration.

Merritt, D. et al. 2006, MNRAS, v367, i4, pp.1746. The nature of the HE0450-2958 system.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2005, ApJS, v160, i1, pp.76. Integral Field Spectroscopy of 23 Spiral Bulges.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2005, AJ, v130, i1, pp.73. Nuclear Properties of Nearby Spiral Galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS Imaging and STIS Spectroscopy.

Atkinson, J. W. 2005, MNRAS, v359, i2, pp.504. Supermassive black hole mass measurements for NGC 1300 and 2748 based on Hubble Space Telescope emission-line gas kinematics.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2004, IAUS, No.222, p.181. Nuclear clusters, bulges and massive black holes in spiral galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2004, IAUS, No.222, p.73. Host bulge properties: The key to SMBH mass estimates?

Scarlata, C. et al. 2004, AJ, v128, i3, pp.1124. Nuclear Properties of a Sample of Nearby Spiral Galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope STIS Imaging.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2003, AJ, v126, i2, pp.742. An Atlas of Hubble Space Telescope Spectra and Images of Nearby Spiral Galaxies.

Marconi, A. et al. 2003, ApJ, v586, i2, pp.868. Is There Really a Black Hole at the Center of NGC 4041? Constraints from Gas Kinematics.