Unveiling the mass assembly of the most massive galaxies in the Universe


  • Call:

    IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2016

  • Academic Year:

    2016 / 2017

  • Domains:

    Cosmology | Astrophysics

  • Supervisor:

    Fernando Buitrago

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Polychronis Papaderos

  • Institution:

    Universidade de Évora

  • Host Institution:

    Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço

  • Abstract:

    The most massive galaxies in the Universe are not yet understood because the dramatic change in their observational properties from the high redshift Universe (tiny star forming late-type/irregular objects) to the present day Universe (huge “read and dead” early-type galaxies). The main goal of this PhD project is to investigate, both using state-of-the-art photometric and 3D-spectroscopic techniques, the stellar populations of massive galaxies across cosmic time. The two central questions to be addressed are: 1) Are the galaxy disks built in the distant Universe evolving passively ever since? (and thus progressively fading, along with a progressive increase of the galactic bulges and therefore switching the galaxies’ kinematics from being rotationally supported to being dominated by random motions aka velocity dispersion) 2) how do the lower mass galaxies interact (or merge) with the massive object growing its outer parts accounting for the so called “inside-out” evolution? This work is based on public data coming from the most powerful telescopes in the world (Hubble Space Telescope and VLT-MUSE). The student will become familiar with observational astronomical software and data mining tools. The final doctoral thesis will explain which physical processes take place in order to fully comprehend the size and kinematic change of the most massive galaxies in the Universe across cosmic time.