ASIAA Summer Students Program
ASIAA Summer Student Program 2021
July 1 - August 31

2021 Project Description

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Cosmic distribution of far-infrared luminous galaxies

Galaxy Evolution


Wei-Hao Wang, Zhen-Kai Gao
Find out more about supervisors on ASIAA website

Task Description and Goals

Through the observations of the Cosmic Infrared Background Radiation, we know that half of the activities (star formation and black hole accretion in galaxies) in the universe are hidden by dust. In other words, half of the UV and optical light produced by these activities is absorbed by dust and re-emitted in the far-IR. If we only observe the universe using optical light, we can only see half of the story. Understanding the dust-hidden half of the universe is thus crucial for us to gain complete understanding of the formation and evolution history of galaxies. This can only be done by directly observing the far-IR emission from distant dusty galaxies, and the far-IR light from the distant universe would redshift into millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Our team is conducting a large-scale submillimeter survey using the 15m James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Maunakea. We have obtained the deepest ever submillimeter images at a wavelength of 0.45mm in a couple of extragalactic survey fields, in which hundreds of submillimeter galaxies were detected. From this dataset, we can measure the number and brightness of submillimeter galaxies. Such measurements will lead to the so-called "number counts" analyses, and the results can provide constraints on galaxy evolution models. However, with just one or two survey fields, we cannot confidently answer whether our survey results fairly represent the entire universe. So we need to compare results from our survey fields with that from others. The student of this summer program will retrieve data from the JCMT archive to create 0.45mm images of various extragalactic survey fields, and derive submillimeter galaxy number counts from these fields. The results can then be compared with the number counts from our own deep survey, to understand how uniform the universe is in terms of distribution of dusty galaxies.

Required Background

The student will mostly use existing programs to process JCMT data and to derive number counts. However, experience in programming, especially using Python, is welcome. Experience in astronomical observations, and taking course on cosmology and astrophysics will also be considered advantageous for this project.

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