Satellite galaxies as probe of structure formation in our cosmic backyard

Dark matter dominated satellite dwarf galaxies are critical laboratories and gravitational test particles to investigate whether the predictions of high-performance lambda cold dark matter (LCDM) computer simulations are consistent with the observed matter distribution in the sphere of influence of luminous spiral and elliptical galaxies. The primary objective of our program is to study the baryonic and dark matter components of newly detected stellar systems thereby providing a deeper insight into the ultra-faint satellite galaxy phenomenon and establishing stringent observational constraints for LCDM theory testing. 

Inspired by the success of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to find optically elusive Milky Way satellite galaxies, Helmut Jerjen from the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics assembled a specialist team of international scientists, observers and theoreticians that carry out the deepest, most extended search for satellite dwarf galaxies covering the entire 20,000 square degrees of the Southern hemisphere. We analyse Terabytes of digital imaging data obtained from a range of state-of-the-art optical telescopes, e.g. Subaru, Magellan, and LSST employing high performance computers and sophisticated data mining tools. We also conduct extensive follow-up observations of newly detected satellite galaxies with the most powerful optical, infrared, and radio telescopes in the world to obtain an unprecedented picture of the nature of satellite galaxy populations around luminous host galaxies in the local Universe and to provide stringent observational constraints for cosmology to uncover possible flaws in the LCDM theory on galaxy scales.

Our team is looking for enthusiastic Honours, Masters and PhD students with a strong background in Maths, Physics, or Computer Science who want to work on some of the most important questions currently discussed in near-field cosmology community.