The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor of Hubble, will unveil the first galaxies to form in our Universe. Due to the doppler effect the spectral signatures of these primordial galaxies will be shifted such that we will only be able to access their rest ultraviolet light. Unfortunately current models struggle to measure key galaxy properties such as metallicity from UV spectral features. To calibrate the next generation of models this project aims to identify a set of galaxies at half the age of the Universe with existing UV and optical spectroscopy from the archives of the largest telescopes and surveys from around the world. The current datasets consist of ~10 galaxies and are limited to the brightest objects magnified by gravitational lensing or the deepest observations. An increase of even a factor of 1.5-2 galaxies from this project would provide a powerful constraint on all future chemical models used to study the first galaxies.
In this project the student would (1) search by position and redshift large spectral databases, (2) download spectra and if needed reduce data, (3) fit key emission and absorption features to create a spectral database (4) compare with the state of the art models being calibrated at ANU. The student taking on this project is expected to familiarise themselves with the basic principles of emission-line spectroscopy and acquire the skills to successfully analyse data.
For further details please contact the project supervisor.