AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 93. Keck Adaptive Optics
Oral, Friday, January 14, 2000, 10:00-11:30am, Regency VI

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[93.05] Diffraction Limited Images of Faint Field Galaxies

J.E. Larkin, T. M. Glassman (UCLA), P. Wizinowich (CARA), O. Lai (CFHT)

We have used the Keck Adaptive Optics System to observe six galaxies at resolutions close to 50 milliarcseconds in the near infrared (1.6 microns). These are the highest resolution images ever achieved on faint galaxies at these wavelengths and are sharper than Hubble Space Telescope optical images. We are able to determine accurate bulge and disk sizes and general morphologies as well as search for compact central nuclei and bright star forming regions. With a larger data set we hope to study the evolution of galaxies concentrating on: where and at what rates star formation is occurring, how common are central active nuclei and starbursts, what is the merger rate and when did large disk systems stabilize. These observations were made possible by inverting the problem of finding guide stars near target objects. Instead we have used a non-AO infrared camera to first find faint galaxies near bright guide stars at relatively high Galactic latitudes. This is very similar to the Hubble deep fields, where the telescope intentionly integrated in ``blank'' fields. These observations are preliminary to spectroscopic work that will begin later this year.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: larkin@astro.ucla.edu

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