Project J

Preparing for the Extremely Large Telescope: how will high-redshift star-forming galaxies appear with HARMONI?

Anita Zanella & Chris Harrison

(email advisors)

ESO's ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world. Investigate with us how distant galaxies will appear when observed with it!

As the current suite of 8m class telescopes are being pushed to their limits, it is becoming crucial to prepare for the next generation of telescopes. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is a 39m diameter telescope being constructed by ESO for operations starting within the next decade. It will provide the angular resolution and light gathering power to revolutionize our understanding in many astrophysical fields. In particular, HARMONI, a near-infrared and optical integral field spectrograph equipped with laser tomography adaptive optics will play a key role. One of the major science goals of HARMONI is to spatially resolve the interstellar medium (ISM) of high-redshift (z ∼ 2–5) galaxies and measure the physical processes occurring on scales of individual HII regions. The properties (sizes, luminosities, velocity dispersions, chemical content, and spatial distribution) of HII regions reflect the underlying ISM (e.g. gas density, pressure), which in turn reflect the dominant path by which galaxies accrete the bulk of their gas. This project aims at simulating how galaxies at z ∼ 2–3 will appear when observed with HARMONI, to investigate the ability to measure the properties of individual star-forming regions. We recently obtained MUSE data of two z ~ 3 galaxies hosting several star-forming regions. The candidate student will use these observations as an input for the simulations and he/she will use the HARMONI simulator (HSIM) to produce mock datacubes. He/she will finally determine how well the properties of HII regions will be measured with ELT/HARMONI, depending on exposure time and spatial resolution.

#galaxies  #highredshift  #observations  #simulations

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