Cosmos

Structure and evolution of the Cosmos

About

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.

Projects

This project has two components: developing the science case for the instrument, defining the mission parameters that are necessary to ensure the science goals are achieved; and, for a student so inclined, physically building the telescope and camera system.

Student intake

Open for Bachelor, Honours, PhD students

People

A new search for strong gravitational lenses in the MAGPI survey

Student intake

Open for Bachelor, Honours students

People

A resolved star formation study of galaxies using TYPHOON

Student intake

Open for Honours students

People

NGC 628 is a nearby, face on spiral galaxy with well defined spiral arms. As part of this project, you will (1) Cross-correlate the star clusters from the LEGUS catalog with the SIGNALS HII region catalog and (2) Compare the age, size, and morphology of the star clusters with the size and extent of the HII regions.

In this project you will use existing and new data to understand the nature of filamentary structure in galaxies and how they relate to magnetic fields.

Student intake

Open for Bachelor, Honours, PhD students

People

This project aims to measure both distances and velocities for 100,000 galaxies and so map the visible and dark matter within a billion light-years.

Student intake

Open for PhD students

People

Members

Academic

Christoph Federrath

Associate Director HDR
Former ARC Future and Stromlo Fellow

Articles

The seven mirror segments will form the heart of the Giant Magellan Telescope, designed to have a resolving power 10 times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Read the article