Structure and evolution of the Cosmos

On the largest and most distant scales, astrophysicists and cosmologists at RSAA study many types of distant galaxies, investigate the nature of the early universe, and measure the expansion of space itself. Areas of study in these fields include:

  • understanding how galaxies form and interact with each other and their environments
  • observing how interactions between galaxies affect their development
  • the effects of internal processes, such as star formation and central supermassive black holes, on the growth of a galaxy
  • the role and nature of dark matter in the formation of structure in the universe
  • measuring the rate of acceleration of the expansion of the universe and understanding the implications for cosmological models
  • modelling and observing enigmatic phenomena such as gamma ray bursts, supernovae and other transients to understand the physical processes that cause them.

Research led by cosmologists at ANU led to the discovery that the Universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate; work for which the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded. RSAA astronomers continue to investigate what this means for theoretical models of the Universe, to understand the role of dark energy or the cosmological constant that drives this accelearation. They are also improving measurements of distance to the exploding stars, or supernovae, that are used as beacons in mapping the expansion rate to refine the results that constrain these models. One of the major goals for the SkyMapper Telescope's Southern Sky Survey is to discover tens of thousands of new supernova occurring in distant galaxies. This will significantly increase the sample of observed events and enable astronomers to make detailed follow-up observations to help improve understanding of the physical processes that occur during these stellar explosions.

Project Status
A high-altitude survey for nearby supernova Potential
Analysis of 5-year sample DES sample of Type Ia supernovae: developing the next generation cosmology fitter Potential
Characterising biases in the Pantheon sample of Type Ia supernovae Potential
Characterising the relationship between supernovae and its host through spectra Potential
Computational Astrophysics Laboratory Current
Data Archives Current
Forming the Fuel for Star Formation Potential
Fyris Current
Gas-rich dwarf galaxies: evolution and chemistry in the local universe Current
High-speed imaging in the near-infrared Potential
Hot Spots in the Andromeda Galaxy Potential
How does the Milky Way get new gas to continue its voracious habit of star formation? Potential
How well we can weight the stars in distant galaxies from their observed light? Potential
Investigating the interaction between supermassive black holes and their host spiral galaxies Potential
Local analogs for high-redshift galaxies in the GAMA Galaxy Survey Potential
Magnetic fields in the Magellanic System Potential
Magnetism in the Galactic Centre Potential
Measuring the inclination of the Large Magellanic Cloud with the Dark Energy Camera Potential
Modelling the interstellar gas emission in galaxies Potential
Observing HII region spectra in isolated dwarf irregular galaxies from the SIGRID sample Potential
OzDES SkyMapper observations for Reverberation Mapping Potential
Performance of the SkyMapper Supernovae Search Potential
Performance of the SkyMapper Supernovae Search Potential
Probing the lagging halo of the Milky Way Potential
Radio galaxy environments Potential
Radio Galaxy Zoo and supermassive black holes Potential
Radio spectra of galaxies undergoing feedback by relativistic jets Potential
Red spirals - how star formation fades in galaxies like the Milky Way Potential
SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey Current
SkyMapper Transient Survey Potential
SkyMapper Transient Survey Potential
The Galactic Centre Gamma-Ray Excess: Signature of Dark Matter or Ancient Stars? Potential
The Initial Mass Function in the most extreme star-forming environments Potential
The Kepler Extra-Galactic Survey - Supernovae, Black Holes, and Cosmology Potential
The link between extended line emission and AGN feedback in brightest cluster galaxies Completed
The origin of metal rich globular clusters Potential
The Stromlo Milky Way Satellite Survey: Satellite galaxies as probe of structure formation in our cosmic backyard Potential
Thick disks in other spiral galaxies Potential
Understanding the Milky Way’s giant radio lobes Potential
Unveiling the properties of galaxies in the young Universe with the world’s largest telescope Potential
Using THOR's Hammer to Measure the Temperature of the Milky Way Potential