Does the Universe have vortex motions?

Summary

The project is to carry out computer simulations for a new instrument concept – hexabundles - that will see “first light” in 2010 on the Very Large Telescope in Chile. These devices allow us to obtain imaging spectral data for many galaxies at once and are set to revolutionize the way we carry out cosmology surveys.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn

Research Location

School of Physics

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

Most wide-field cosmology surveys today make use of optical fibres to obtain spectra of many galaxies at a single telescope pointing. In this way, one can build up redshift surveys of up to a million galaxies. The new hexabundles will replace these fibres so that each galaxy can be imaged at 400 distinct locations at once, and many galaxies simultaneously at that. This is a huge breakthrough in how we think about surveys because now we can obtain maps of how the stars and gas are moving together, the distribution of their chemical elements and so on. And we can do this for tens or even hundreds of thousands of galaxies across the sky.

We are now carrying out detailed numerical simulations of how the universe unfolded to see if we can detect primordial tidal fields, universal rotation, various predictions of Bianchi universes, and so forth. Some of the simulations we need already exist on the web, but depending on the project we decide upon, we may need to run some new ones with the national facility at Swinburne.

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Keywords

physics, astrophysics, astronomy, photonics, astrophotonics, astronomical instrumentation, stars, galaxies, cosmology, numerical simulations, black holes, starbursts, antimatter, early universe, spectrographs, Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, spirals, ellipticals, dwarfs, surveys

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 701

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