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Priscilla Holguin Luna

Priscilla Holguin Luna
Graduate Students

Contact Info
pholg at
1 (575) 646-1057
AY 217





I am interested in studying the formation and evolution of galaxies and large-scale galactic structure. My current research at NMSU with Dr. Joe Burchett involves studying the outskirts of galaxy clusters using quasar absorption line spectroscopy.

I worked with Dr. Louise Edwards at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying the formation and evolution of Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs). We used integral field unit (IFU) spectroscopy to study properties of the stellar populations within different regions of the BCGs by analyzing trends in parameters such as age, metallicity, and velocity dispersion as a function of distance from the BCG core. The trends we observed are among the main findings of our paper, linked below, and they’re consistent with a hierarchical formation scenario. A similar method of analysis is currently being done for a different sample of BCGs using the SDSS MaNGA dataset.

I worked with Dr. Charlie Conroy and Dr. Phillip Cargile for a summer at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, on refining a method to study the stellar halo of the Milky Way as a means of unveiling some of the Galaxy’s footprints of formation. This was done through use of a stellar parameter pipeline, the Payne, which derives physical quantities for stars by comparing the observed stellar spectrum to an interpolated grid made from ab initio models of synthetic spectra. My results of this project, presented at the 233rd AAS Meeting, showed that the metallicity values output by the Payne’s fitting algorithm were consistent with accepted literature values for the well-studied open cluster M67.

Meetings Attended
  • 235th AAS Meeting
  • 234th AAS Meeting
  • 233rd AAS Meeting – Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award Recipient