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
A new search for strong gravitational lenses in the MAGPI survey Current
A resolved star formation study of galaxies using TYPHOON Potential
A resolved star formation study of star clusters and their ionised regions in NGC 628 Potential
Are magnetic fields the scaffolds of galaxies? Potential
Bulk motions in the nearby Universe and the approach to homogeneity Potential
Computational Astrophysics Laboratory Current
Computational astrophysics studies in turbulence, magnetic fields, and star/galaxy formation and evolution Potential
Connecting the Galactic and Extragalactic with MUSE: a comparison of integrated and resolved stellar populations Potential
Connections between morphology and kinematics at cosmic noon Current
Constraining cosmic ray dynamics with gamma-ray data Potential
Cosmic Magnetism and the Universe’s Biggest ‘Dye Tracer’ Experiments: Deciphering The Impact and Lifecycles of Outflows from Supermassive Black Holes. Potential
Data Archives Current
Exploring Galactic magnetism through radio polarization Potential
Exploring the Ultraviolet Extinction Landscape: A Mission Concept for Probing Interstellar Medium Composition in the Milky Way and Local Group Galaxies Potential
Extending the OzDES AGN Reverberation Mapping Program to year 7 and beyond Potential
Formation History of the Milky Way from Stellar Observables Potential
Fyris Current
Gas-rich dwarf galaxies: evolution and chemistry in the local universe Current
HI Absorption-Emission Fitting: A New Approach 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
Magellanic foreground: The handshake between HI gas and Galactic magnetic field Potential
Mapping azimuthal variations in metals across cosmic time Potential
Measuring the masses of black holes in distant galaxies Potential
Performance of the SkyMapper Supernovae Search Potential
Projects related to Feedback by Jets and Winds in Active Galaxies Potential
Pulsars as a probe of the ionised gas in 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 Potential
Revisiting stellar masses in the JWST era Current
Satellite galaxies as probe of structure formation in our cosmic backyard Potential
Shaping the Magellanic Stream with the Magellanic Corona: A Faraday Rotation search Potential
Simulated observations of galactic wind metal loading Potential
Simulated Observations of the Magnetic Fields of the Milky Way Potential
Simulating the formation of the first galaxies Potential
SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey Current
SkyMapper Transient Survey Potential
Star Clusters as Engines of Ionisation and their HII Regions in NGC 7793 Potential
Synergy between future 21-cm experiments and physical cosmology Potential
Taking the Temperature of a galaxy Potential
The Galactic ASKAP Survey of Atomic Gas structure and temperature of the Magellanic System Potential
The impact of systematic redshift errors on dark energy constraints Potential
The link between extended line emission and AGN feedback in brightest cluster galaxies Completed
The origin of filamentary structures in the interstellar medium of spiral galaxies Potential
The Origin of the High Galactic Latitudes Asymmetry in the Milky Way Magnetic Field Structure Potential
The origin of the mass step in supernovae Potential
The Origins of Elements with Next-Generation Stellar Spectroscopy Potential
The rise of supermassive black holes Potential, Current
Toward improved measurements of galactic wind mass fluxes Potential
Unveiling the Mysteries of the Magellanic Stream: Galactic ASKAP HI Absorption Study Potential
Weighing gravity with galaxy motions Potential, Current
Where does Galactic antimatter come from? Potential
Why does the inner Galaxy glow in gamma-rays and radio emission?: dark matter, ancient pulsars, neither or both? Potential