Our researchers use the world's best telescopes and advanced supercomputing to study the origin, evolution and properties of galaxies.
Our researchers are engaged on many different aspects of this problem and from multiple different avenues. Wide-field surveys of galaxies in the nearby universe provide a comprehensive picture of the demographics of the galaxy population in the present day. In contrast, very sensitive ‘pencil beam’ surveys locate the most distant galaxies, observed when the universe was only a few percent of its current age, giving a sense how galaxies grow and evolve over cosmic time.
Detailed studies of individual objects or systems help to understand the processes of formation and disentangle the effects that drive its evolution. All of these insights inform, and are informed by, the latest theoretical models and numerical simulations of galaxy formation and evolution in a cosmological context.
The universe's first billion years
Using the next generation James Webb space telescope and new machine learning methods, we aim to find rare and unusual galaxies and stars that emerged in the first billion years of cosmic history.
Galaxy and mass assembly
By combining distance measurements from optical spectroscopy with panchromatic imaging spanning X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, near-to-far infrared and radio wavelengths, census-class galaxy surveys like GAMA, DEVILS and WAVES provide a comprehensive view of the astrophysical processes that shape the lives of galaxies.
Measuring the masses of galaxies
We are pioneering new experimental approaches to measure the total mass of the dark matter halos that surround galaxies, through the relativistic effect of weak gravitational lensing. By connecting the properties of galaxies to the total mass of their larger dark matter halos, the goal is to derive new insights into how the dark matter influences the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Using in-house software, we are finding and quantifying the structural components of galaxies.
We’re using the faintest spectral features in galaxies to make fundamental constraints on how stars form and impact the galaxy and circumgalactic medium around them.
Understanding ultra diffuse galaxies
Using the Keck Observatory and other 8-10m class telescopes, we are investigating a new class of ultra diffuse galaxies that challenge existing theories for galaxy formation. Their globular cluster systems may hold the key to their understanding.
DYNAMO galaxy project
DYNAMO is a sample of nearby galaxies that are matched in properties to galaxies of the ancient universe, which we use as laboratories for studying star formation processes.
Globular clusters in extragalactic systems
We are investigating the formation and evolution of globular clusters and their host galaxies. This problem is tackled using high resolution imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope, combined with ground-based imaging and multi-object spectroscopy with the Keck telescopes.
Observational studies of massive black holes
We are establishing the connections between the massive black holes at the centres of galaxies and their host galaxy.
The Taipan galaxy survey
Taipan is a new spectroscopic survey facility at Siding Spring Observatory that has been designed to measure the distances to millions of galaxies across the entire Southern sky in order to construct a comprehensive map of the properties, structure and motion of galaxies in the nearby universe.
Linking the circumgalactic medium to galaxies
Our Multiphase Galaxy Halos Survey uses both observations and simulations to determine how the CGM influences and drives galaxy evolution.
The physics of gas flows around galaxies at cosmic noon
We are examining the circumgalactic medium at the universe’s epoch of peak star formation in order to address how the evolution of galaxies is influenced by gas flows.
The nature of damped Lyman alpha systems
Detecting damped Lyman alpha systems (DLAs) in sightlines to galaxies, as opposed to quasars done previously, is a new approach that will be used by 30m telescopes in the future able to determine the size, mass and kinematics of DLAs for the first time to understand their nature and to perform 3D neutral hydrogen tomography in the early universe.
Understanding galaxy evolution through HI observations
Using observations from next generation radio telescopes, this project aims to understand the fundamental physical processes affecting galaxy evolution in the local universe including angular momentum, gravitational interactions and hydrodynamical processes.