Welcome to the Traces of Galaxy Formation research group website.
We are a large, diverse, and very active research group aiming to provide a comprehensive picture for the formation of galaxies in the Universe. Rooted in detailed stellar population analysis, we are constantly exploring and developing new tools and ideas to understand how galaxies came to be what we now observe.
A complex star formation history, as the one expected to describe galaxy evolution, needs a multidisciplinary approach to be fully understood. Our group at the IAC consists of experienced researchers in cosmological simulations, dynamical studies, stellar populations and morphological properties of galaxies up to high redshift. We combine different approaches (e.g. observations and theory, secular and cosmological evolution studies) to obtain a complete view of the dominant mechanisms driving the evolution of galaxies.
Within this general framework, we are currently exploring three main areas of research:
- Stellar population synthesis models
- Development of new stellar population synthesis models
- Stellar population analysis tools
- Universality of the stellar initial mass function (IMF)
- Cosmic evolution of galaxies
- Massive galaxy evolution
- Stellar populations in different environments
- Low surface brightness science
- Machine learning and cosmological simulations
- Evolutionary processes in nearby galaxies
- The role of black holes in the evolution of galaxies
- Surveys of nearby galaxies
- Stellar kinematics and dynamical models
If you want to get in contact or work with us, please send an email to the head of the group (Ignacio Martín-Navarro ignacio.martin [at] iac.es).
Here you can find some of our most recent highlights:
- Local variations of the stellar velocity ellipsoid - II. The effect of the bar in the inner regions of Auriga galaxies. Walo et al. 2022, MNRAS (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2022MNRAS.513.4587W)
- Anisotropic satellite galaxy quenching modulated by black hole activity. Martín-Navarro et al. 2021, Nature (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021Natur.594..187M)
- Evaluating hydrodynamical simulations with green valley galaxies. Angthopo et al. 2021, MNRAS (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021MNRAS.502.3685A)
- Sub one per cent mass fractions of young stars in red massive galaxies. Salvador-Rusiñol et al. 2020, Nature Astronomy (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020NatAs...4..252S)
- Detection of young stellar populations in apparently quenched low-mass galaxies using red spectral line indices. de Lorenzo-Cáceres et al. 2020, MNRAS (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020MNRAS.498.1002D)
The Fornax3D project: Planetary nebulae catalogue and independent distance measurements to Fornax cluster galaxies
Extragalactic planetary nebulae (PNe) offer a way to determine the distance to their host galaxies thanks to the nearly universal shape of the planetary nebulae luminosity function (PNLF). Accurate PNe distance measurements rely on obtaining well-sampled PNLFs and the number of observed PNe scales with the encompassed stellar mass. This meansSpriggs, T. W. et al.
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 theSarmiento, Regina et al.
Chronos: A NIR spectroscopic galaxy survey to probe the most fundamental stages of galaxy evolution
We propose a dedicated, ultra-deep spectroscopic survey in the near infrared (NIR), that will target a mass-limited sample of galaxies during two of the most fundamental epochs of cosmic evolution: the formation of the first galaxies (at z ≳ 6; cosmic dawn), and at the peak of galaxy formation activity (at redshift z∼1-3; cosmic noon). By way ofFerreras, I. et al.
Physically Motivated Fit to Mass Surface Density Profiles Observed in Galaxies
Polytropes have gained renewed interest because they account for several seemingly disconnected observational properties of galaxies. Here we study whether polytropes are also able to explain the stellar mass distribution within galaxies. We develop a code to fit surface density profiles using polytropes projected in the plane of the sky (propols)Sánchez Almeida, Jorge et al.
Rejuvenation triggers nuclear activity in nearby galaxies
Feedback, in particular from active galactic nuclei (AGN), is believed to play a crucial role in the evolution of galaxies. In the local Universe, many galaxies with an AGN are indeed observed to reside in the so-called green valley, usually interpreted as a transition phase from a blue star-forming to a red quenched state. We use data from theMartín-Navarro, Ignacio et al.
Outflows from starburst galaxies with various driving mechanisms and their X-ray properties
Outflows in starburst galaxies driven by thermal-mechanical energy, cosmic rays, and their mix are investigated with 1D and 2D hydrodynamic simulations. We show that these outflows could reach a stationary state, after which their hydrodynamic profiles asymptotically approach previous results obtained semi-analytically for stationary outflowYu, B. P. Brian et al.
X-ray bubbles in the circumgalactic medium of TNG50 Milky Way- and M31-like galaxies: signposts of supermassive black hole activity
The TNG50 cosmological simulation produces X-ray emitting bubbles, shells, and cavities in the circumgalactic gas above and below the stellar discs of Milky Way- and Andromeda-like galaxies with morphological features reminiscent of the eROSITA and Fermi bubbles in the Galaxy. Two-thirds of the 198 MW/M31 analogues inspected in TNG50 at z = 0 showPillepich, Annalisa et al.
Anomaly detection in Hyper Suprime-Cam galaxy images with generative adversarial networks
The problem of anomaly detection in astronomical surveys is becoming increasingly important as data sets grow in size. We present the results of an unsupervised anomaly detection method using a Wasserstein generative adversarial network (WGAN) on nearly one million optical galaxy images in the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) survey. The WGAN learns toStorey-Fisher, Kate et al.
NGC 5746: Formation history of a massive disc-dominated galaxy
The existence of massive galaxies lacking a classical bulge has often been proposed as a challenge to ΛCDM. However, recent simulations propose that a fraction of massive disc galaxies might have had very quiescent merger histories, and also that mergers do not necessarily build classical bulges. We test these ideas with deep MUSE observations ofMartig, Marie et al.
Fornax 3D project: Assessing the diversity of IMF and stellar population maps within the Fornax Cluster
The stellar initial mass function (IMF) is central to our interpretation of astronomical observables and to our understanding of most baryonic processes within galaxies. The universality of the IMF, suggested by observations in our own Milky Way, has been thoroughly revisited due to the apparent excess of low-mass stars in the central regions ofMartín-Navarro, I. et al.
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.
A Disk and No Signatures of Tidal Distortion in the Galaxy "Lacking" Dark Matter NGC 1052-DF2
Using ultra-deep imaging (μg = 30.4 mag arcsec-2; 3σ, 10″ × 10″), we probed the surroundings of the first galaxy "lacking" dark matter (DM) KKS2000 (NGC 1052-DF2). Signs of tidal stripping in this galaxy would explain its claimed low content of DM. However, we find no evidence of tidal tails. In fact, the galaxy remains undisturbed down to aMontes, Mireia et al.
Surface brightness fluctuations to constrain secondary stellar populations: revealing very low-metallicity stars in massive galaxies
The aim of this work is to explore the potential of surface brightness fluctuations (SBF) for studying composite stellar populations (CSP). To do so, we have computed the standard (mean) and SBF spectra with E-MILES stellar population synthesis code. We have created a set of models composed by different mass fractions of two single stellarRodríguez-Beltrán, P. et al.
The miniJPAS survey: A preview of the Universe in 56 colors
The Javalambre-Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) will scan thousands of square degrees of the northern sky with a unique set of 56 filters using the dedicated 2.55 m Javalambre Survey Telescope (JST) at the Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory. Prior to the installation of the main camera (4.2 deg2 field-of-view withBonoli, S. et al.
The Fornax 3D project: PNe populations and stellar metallicity in edge-on galaxies
Context. Extragalactic planetary nebulae (PNe) are useful distance indicators and are often used to trace the dark-matter content in external galaxies. At the same time, PNe can also be used as probes of their host galaxy stellar populations and to help understand the later stages of stellar evolution. Previous works have indicated that a specificGalán-de Anta, P. M. et al.
The lens SW05 J143454.4+522850: a fossil group at redshift 0.6?
Fossil groups are considered the end product of natural galaxy group evolution in which group members sink towards the centre of the gravitational potential due to dynamical friction, merging into a single, massive, and X-ray bright elliptical. Since gravitational lensing depends on the mass of a foreground object, its mass concentration, andDenzel, Philipp et al.
Local variations of the Stellar Velocity Ellipsoid-I: the disc of galaxies in the Auriga simulations
The connection between the Stellar Velocity Ellipsoid (SVE) and the dynamical evolution of galaxies has been a matter of debate in the last years and there is no clear consensus whether different heating agents (e.g. spiral arms, giant molecular clouds, bars and mergers) leave clear detectable signatures in the present day kinematics. Most of theseWalo-Martín, Daniel et al.
Pushing automated morphological classifications to their limits with the Dark Energy Survey
We present morphological classifications of ~27 million galaxies from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Data Release 1 (DR1) using a supervised deep learning algorithm. The classification scheme separates: (a) early-type galaxies (ETGs) from late-type galaxies (LTGs); and (b) face-on galaxies from edge-on. Our convolutional neural networks (CNNs) areVega-Ferrero, J. et al.
The ultraviolet luminosity function of star-forming galaxies between redshifts of 0.6 and 1.2
We use ultraviolet (UV) imaging taken with the XMM-Newton Optical Monitor telescope (XMM-OM), covering 280 arcmin2 in the UVW1 band (λeff = 2910 Å) to measure rest-frame UV 1500-Å luminosity functions of galaxies with redshifts z between 0.6 and 1.2. The XMM-OM data are supplemented by a large body of optical and infrared imaging to providePage, M. J. et al.
Extending the evolution of the stellar mass-size relation at z ≤ 2 to low stellar mass galaxies from HFF and CANDELS
We reliably extend the stellar mass-size relation over 0.2 ≤ z ≤ 2 to low stellar mass galaxies by combining the depth of Hubble Frontier Fields with the large volume covered by CANDELS. Galaxies are simultaneously modelled in multiple bands using the tools developed by the MegaMorph project, allowing robust size (i.e. half-light radius) estimatesNedkova, Kalina V. et al.
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