RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Tuesday, 08 August 2017, 10:00-11:00; Duffield Lecture Theatre

Elisabete da Cunha

"Galaxy evolution across the spectrum"

A major goal of modern astrophysics is to understand how galaxies evolved across cosmic time from small fluctuations in the primordial Universe to the variety of galaxies we observe today. Significant observational advances in the last few decades have allowed us to obtain snapshots of the galaxy population at different cosmic times in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. These snapshots give us a census of baryonic components - stellar populations and interstellar matter - for large statistical samples of galaxies at each epoch. In this talk, I will describe galaxy spectral models that allow us to translate these multi-wavelength into physical properties of galaxies that can be used to contrast different galaxy populations and compare with predictions from theoretical models. Such comparisons have yielded valuable insight into the complex lives of galaxies, however many questions remain regarding the evolution of star formation and the interstellar medium of galaxies, particularly in the young Universe, which has been hard to access observationally. New facilities such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, and Integral Field Unit Spectrographs on a variety large telescopes promise to revolutionise this field. I will outline the next-generation spectral models that will be vital in unlocking key physics from these ever more sophisticated observations, all the way from our local Universe to the epoch of re-ionisation.