Spiral Galaxies: Evolution and Consequences

    General
    Description

    Our small group is well known and respected internationally for our innovative and important work on various aspects of the structure and evolution of nearby spiral galaxies. We primarily use observations at various wavelengths, exploiting synergies that allow us to answer the most pertinent questions relating to what the main properties of galaxies are, and how galaxies have evolved to their current state. We use imaging and spectroscopy, at UV, optical, infrared, millimetre, and radio wavelengths, fully exploiting observing facilities available to us in Spain, at ESO, or elsewhere, along with state-of-the-art analysis tools. The success of this approach can be measured from the employment opportunities offered to ex-members of the group, from the number and quality of collaborations with leading external scientists, from continued citation of our published work, and from invitations to co-organise or speak at the leading international conferences in the field.

    In the last few years our group has put a lot of effort into opening up joint research lines with computer scientists, recognising the paradigm shift that is upon us due to the enormous quantities of data that will soon be produced by facilities such as LSST, Euclid, and SKA. We collaborate with computer scientists and aim to prepare the analysis tools, including detection of structure from noise, correction for scattered light and Galactic cirrus, and the use of machine learning-based techniques, so that once LSST (2020) and Euclid (2023) start releasing their huge data sets, our group is ready to analyse them and extract the science from the oceans of bytes.

    Principal investigator
    Project staff
    1. From thermal and non-thermal radio maps of the centre of NGC 1097, we discovered that the massive star formation is quenched by non-thermal effects, including pressure from the magnetic field, cosmic rays and turbulence.
    2. In the centre of NGC 7742, we found a slightly warped inner disk, and two separate stellar components: an old population that counter-rotates with the gas, and a young one, concentrated to the ring, that co-rotates with the gas.
    3. We re-analysed our deep IR imaging of thick disks to correct for the extended S4G point spread function (PSF), confirming all our previous results and in particular confirming the significant mass present in the thick disk component.
    4. Analysing a new high-resolution e-MERLIN 1.5 GHz radio continuum map together with HST and SDSS imaging of NGC 5322, an elliptical galaxy hosting radio jets, we found that the low-luminosity AGN/jet-driven feedback may have quenched the late-time nuclear star formation promptly.
    5. From MUSE observations of low-surface-brightness Lyman-α emission surrounding faint galaxies at redshifts between 3 and 6 we find that the projected sky coverage approaches 100 per cent.

    Related publications

    • A low-cost chopping system and uncooled microbolometer array for ground-based astronomy

      Mid-Infrared imaging is vital for the study of a wide variety of astronomical phenomena, including evolved stars, exoplanets, and dust enshrouded processes such as star formation in galaxies. However, infrared detectors have traditionally been expensive and it is difficult to achieve the sensitivity needed to see beyond the overwhelming mid

      Rashman, M. F. et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2021
    • Extragalactic Magnetism with SOFIA (Legacy Program) - II: A Magnetically Driven Flow in the Starburst Ring of NGC 1097

      Galactic bars are frequent in disk galaxies and they may support the transfer of matter toward the central engine of active nuclei. The barred galaxy NGC 1097 has magnetic forces controlling the gas flow at several kpc scales, which suggest that magnetic fields (B-fields) are dynamically important along the bar and nuclear ring. However, the effect

      Lopez-Rodriguez, Enrique et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Discovery and analysis of low-surface-brightness galaxies in the environment of NGC 1052

      The environment of NGC 1052 has recently attracted much attention because of the presence of low-surface-brightness galaxies (LSBGs) with apparently "exotic" properties, making it a region of high interest for the detection of new objects. We used public deep photometric data from the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey to carry out a comprehensive

      Román, Javier et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Capturing the Physics of MaNGA Galaxies with Self-supervised Machine Learning

      As available data sets grow in size and complexity, advanced visualization tools enabling their exploration and analysis become more important. In modern astronomy, integral field spectroscopic galaxy surveys are a clear example of increasing high dimensionality and complex data sets, which challenges the traditional methods used to extract the

      Sarmiento, Regina et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Extragalactic Magnetism with SOFIA (Legacy Program). I. The Magnetic Field in the Multiphase Interstellar Medium of M51

      The recent availability of high-resolution far-infrared (FIR) polarization observations of galaxies using HAWC+/SOFIA has facilitated studies of extragalactic magnetic fields in the cold and dense molecular disks. We investigate whether any significant structural differences are detectable in the kiloparsec-scale magnetic field of the grand design

      Borlaff, Alejandro S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Fractal dimension of optical cirrus in Stripe82

      The geometric characteristics of dust clouds provide important information on the physical processes that structure such clouds. One of such characteristics is the 2D fractal dimension D of a cloud projected on to the sky plane. In previous studies, which were mostly based on infrared (IR) data, the fractal dimension of individual clouds was found

      Marchuk, Alexander A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Molecular gas and star formation within 12 strong galactic bars observed with IRAM-30 m

      Context. While some galactic bars show recent massive star formation (SF) along them, some others do not. Whether bars with low level of SF are a consequence of low star formation efficiency, low gas inflow rate, or dynamical effects remains a matter of debate. Aims: In order to study the physical conditions that enable or prevent SF, we perform a

      Díaz-García, S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • LeMMINGs III. The e-MERLIN legacy survey of the Palomar sample: exploring the origin of nuclear radio emission in active and inactive galaxies through the [O III] - radio connection

      What determines the nuclear radio emission in local galaxies? To address this question, we combine optical [O III] line emission, robust black hole (BH) mass estimates, and high-resolution e-MERLIN 1.5-GHz data, from the LeMMINGs survey, of a statistically complete sample of 280 nearby optically active (LINER and Seyfert) and inactive [H II and

      Baldi, R. D. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Introducing the LBT Imaging of Galactic Halos and Tidal Structures (LIGHTS) survey. A preview of the low surface brightness Universe to be unveiled by LSST

      We present the first results of the LBT Imaging of Galaxy Haloes and Tidal Structures (LIGHTS) survey. LIGHTS is an ongoing observational campaign with the 2 × 8.4 m Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) aiming to explore the stellar haloes and the low surface brightness population of satellites down to a depth of μV ∼ 31 mag arcsec−2 (3σ in 10″ × 10″

      Trujillo, Ignacio et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • WALLABY pre-pilot survey: two dark clouds in the vicinity of NGC 1395

      We present the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) WALLABY pre-pilot observations of two 'dark' H I sources (with H I masses of a few times 108 $\rm {M}_\odot$ and no known stellar counterpart) that reside within 363 kpc of NGC 1395, the most massive early-type galaxy in the Eridanus group of galaxies. We investigate whether these

      Wong, O. I. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • Tracing satellite planes in the Sculptor group. I. Discovery of three faint dwarf galaxies around NGC 253

      Context. In recent years, a new generation of large-scale imaging surveys have probed wide field regions for the first time around some nearby galaxies in an unprecedentedly low surface-brightness regime (∼28.0−29.0 mag arcsec−2). This provides the chance to discover very faint dwarf satellites by means of systematic visual inspection of these

      Martínez-Delgado, David et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • A feather on the hat: tracing the giant stellar stream around the Sombrero galaxy

      Recent evidence of extremely metal-rich stars found in the Sombrero galaxy (M104) halo suggests that this galaxy has undergone a recent major merger with a relatively massive galaxy. In this paper, we present wide-field deep images of the M104 outskirts obtained with a 18-cm amateur telescope with the purpose of detecting any coherent tidal

      Martínez-Delgado, David et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • The centres of M83 and the Milky Way: opposite extremes of a common star formation cycle

      In the centres of the Milky Way and M83, the global environmental properties thought to control star formation are very similar. However, M83's nuclear star formation rate (SFR), as estimated by synchrotron and H α emission, is an order of magnitude higher than the Milky Way's. To understand the origin of this difference we use ALMA observations of

      Callanan, Daniel et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • A diffuse tidal dwarf galaxy destined to fade out as a "dark galaxy"

      We have explored the properties of a peculiar object detected in deep optical imaging and located at the tip of an H I tail emerging from Hickson Compact Group 16. Using multiband photometry from infrared to ultraviolet, we were able to constrain its stellar age to 58‒9+22 Myr with a rather high metallicity of [Fe/H] = ‒0.16‒0.41+0.43 for its

      Román, Javier et al.

      Advertised on:

      5
      2021
    • The number of globular clusters around the iconic UDG DF44 is as expected for dwarf galaxies

      There is a growing consensus that the vast majority of ultradiffuse galaxies (UDGs) are dwarf galaxies. However, there remain a few UDGs that seem to be special in terms of their globular cluster (GC) systems. In particular, according to some authors, certain UDGs exhibit large GC populations when compared to expectations from their stellar (or

      Saifollahi, Teymoor et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2021
    • Ultramassive Black Holes in the Most Massive Galaxies: M<SUB>BH</SUB>-σ versus M<SUB>BH</SUB>-R<SUB>b</SUB>

      We investigate the nature of the relations between black hole (BH) mass (MBH) and the central velocity dispersion (σ) and, for core-Sérsic galaxies, the size of the depleted core (Rb). Our sample of 144 galaxies with dynamically determined MBH encompasses 24 core-Sérsic galaxies, thought to be products of gas-poor mergers, and reliably identified

      Dullo, Bililign T. et al.

      Advertised on:

      2
      2021
    • Composite bulges - II. Classical bulges and nuclear discs in barred galaxies: the contrasting cases of NGC 4608 and NGC 4643

      We present detailed morphological, photometric, and stellar-kinematic analyses of the central regions of two massive, early-type barred galaxies with nearly identical large-scale morphologies. Both have large, strong bars with prominent inner photometric excesses that we associate with boxy/peanut-shaped (B/P) bulges; the latter constitute ∼30 per

      Erwin, Peter et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2021
    • A prediction about the age of thick discs as a function of the stellar mass of the host galaxy

      One of the suggested thick disc formation mechanisms is that they were born quickly and in situ from a turbulent clumpy disc. Subsequently, thin discs formed slowly within them from leftovers of the turbulent phase and from material accreted through cold flows and minor mergers. In this Letter, I propose an observational test to verify this

      Comerón, S.

      Advertised on:

      1
      2021
    • The complex multi-component outflow of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 7130

      Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are a key ingredient for understanding galactic evolution, as their activity is coupled to the host galaxy properties through feedback processes. AGN-driven outflows are one of the manifestations of this feedback. The laser guide star adaptive optics mode for MUSE at the VLT now permits us to study the innermost tens of

      Comerón, S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      1
      2021
    • LeMMINGs - II. The e-MERLIN legacy survey of nearby galaxies. The deepest radio view of the Palomar sample on parsec scale

      We present the second data release of high-resolution (≤0.2 arcsec) 1.5-GHz radio images of 177 nearby galaxies from the Palomar sample, observed with the e-MERLIN array, as part of the Legacy e-MERLIN Multi-band Imaging of Nearby Galaxies Sample (LeMMINGs) survey. Together with the 103 targets of the first LeMMINGs data release, this represents a

      Baldi, R. D. et al.

      Advertised on:

      1
      2021

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