K3-LARS: exploring the kinematics, metallicity, and ionisation state of early galaxies

The brand new KMOS z = 3-4 Lyα reference survey (K3-LARS) will anchor our understanding of Lyα emission just 2 Gyrs after the Big Bang providing key comparisons for the first galaxies to form in the Universe. The Lyman-alpha (Lya) emission line has become a cornerstone line to confirm and study galaxies at early times − providing insight on the sources responsible for reionising the Universe. However, to disentangle the properties of Lya emission in the first galaxies we need to understand samples of galaxies emitting Lya at lower redshifts where rest-frame optical emission lines are still accessible from current facilities. K3-LARS aims to fill this gap by providing a reference at the peak epoch of mass formation comparable to the successful local Lya reference sample (LARS). K3-LARS is a multi-wavelength legacy data set, including data from four different instruments (HST, MUSE, FORS2, and KMOS), that will characterise typical galaxies with Lya emission by tracing galaxy kinematics, conditions of the interstellar medium, and Lyman continuum escape. 

In this project the student would (1) analyse the data in hand and help prepare observations for upcoming datasets, (2) measure metallicity and ionisation state from optical and ultraviolet emission lines, (3) explore physical links (e.g. ionisation state) between galaxies traditionally categorised separately, (4) provide new constraints for photoionisation models being developed with collaborators at ANU. The student taking on this project is expected to familiarise themselves with the basic principles of emission-line spectroscopy, acquire the skills to successfully analyse the data, and lead the scientific direction of the survey.

For more information, please contact the project supervisor.