Connections between morphology and kinematics at cosmic noon

The kinematics and morphology of typically massive disk galaxies has changed dramatically over the last ~9 Gyrs. Early disks were thicker, gas-rich, and more turbulent with line of sight velocity dispersions of ~50-70 km/s. There are multiple theoretical models that can drive and maintain high turbulence in disk galaxies. These include, galaxy mergers, accretion, star-formation, and radial transport with some or all expected to contribute at different epochs. Evidence of the importance of star-formation and radial transport can be found by linking the morphology and kinematics of galaxies. The 'deep fields' observed by the HST-CANDELS team have revealed clumpy structure in early disks which has been characterised with multiple techniques including machine learning, visual inspection, and citizen scientists. Many of the same galaxies have been observed with integral field spectrographs measuring their kinematics. However, morphological criteria and kinematic criteria for identifying disks do not select the same galaxies. New JWST data will allow a deeper exploration of this problem by revealing the morphology of disk at different wavelengths and higher spatial resolution. This project will explore the connection between disk structures and disk kinematics over 5 Gyrs from 'cosmic noon' to the 'disk settling epoch' by bringing together morphological and kinematic observations.

In this project the student would (1) measure disk velocity dispersion for large archival kinematic samples, (2) cross match kinematic and existing morphological studies (3) investigate trends between spiral arm formation, clumpiness, and other structural parameters with kinematics, (4) measure morphological parameters of galaxies in new JWST data, (5) compare with recent results from simulations. The student taking on this project is expected to familiarise themselves with the basic principles of kinematic data and acquire the skills to successfully analyse three dimensional data.

For more information, please contact the project supervisor.