Characterising the Spatial Variation of Dust Attenuation in Galaxies

Given advances in integral-field spectroscopy (IFS), which allows spectroscopy to be obtained simultaneously over a large region, it is now practical to examine the structural nature of dust attenuation within individual galaxies in the local Universe (e.g., Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral-field spectrograph survey (SAMI; Bryant et al. 2015); The Siding Spring Southern Seyfert Spectroscopic Snapshot Survey (S7; Dopita et al. 2015)). You will perform an analysis of nearby galaxies imaged with IFS that are resolved in UV imaging from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and in the IR from the Spitzer Space Telescope. By performing a region-by-region analysis of the dust attenuation inferred from the ionised gas (via IFS data) and the emission from stars and dust, we will gain a better understanding of the factors giving rise to its spatial variation (see above Figure). The full spectral range of data available for these galaxies will also be used to explore the amount of variation in commonly adopted dust correction diagnostics. To perform this study, you will utilise archival IFS data from the SAMI and/or S7 surveys. Students have the opportunity to submit observing proposals for additional observations of galaxies in S7, a survey performed using the Wide-Field Spectrograph (WiFeS) instrument on the ANU 2.3m telescope. These observations would extend the radial coverage of the galactic disks, as S7 only performed imaging of the central region of galaxies.

This project will provide you with expertise in the analysis of IFS and other multi-wavelength data that are highly desired skills in the field. You will also gain knowledge of new astrophysical software, improve your coding ability, gain experience in telescope proposal writing process, and have the opportunity to perform your own observations using the ANU 2.3m telescope. For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.