How well we can weight the stars in distant galaxies from their observed light?

Two of the key quantities to describe distant galaxies are their stellar mass and the rate at which they are forming new stars. To measure this, we use spectral energy distribution models (such as MAGPHYS; www.iap.fr/magphys). These models tell us the values of key physical parameters (such as stellar mass) are needed to reproduce the observed light of galaxies at all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the radio. This project will investigate how robust stellar mass and star formation rate estimates are to different modelling assumptions regarding the star formation history and interstellar matter in galaxies. The results will have important implications to our understanding of galaxy evolution inferred from the deepest observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, and the James Webb Space Telescope in the near future. For further information: elisabete.dacunha@anu.edu.au.

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