AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 94 From Protogalaxies to Large Surveys: Tracing the Galaxy Evolution
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[94.14] Galaxy Structure and Formation with Integral Field Spectrographs

J. Gerssen, R. Bower, J. Allington-Smith (University of Durham)

Integral Field Spectrographs are a new class of powerful astronomical instruments capable of operating on unprecedented volumes of high-redshift space as well as showing a fantastic amount of detail in the nearby Universe. These instruments are therefore ideally suited to observationally advance our understanding of the formation and structure of galaxies, specifically:

Gas falling into a proto-galaxy leaves a visible signature in the form of a faint halo of Ly\alpha emission around the system. IFS observations simultaneously map the spatial distribution of this faint emission and measure its velocity structure. These are the key observables with which to constrain dark matter halos in the context of the standard model. These observations probe large volumes of space and are also expected to yield many serendipitous discoveries of Ly\alpha galaxies. The distribution of these systems is another key prediction of galaxy formation scenarios.

The increasing sophistication of cosmological simulations is beginning to address the internal properties of galaxies, and not just their global characteristics. As the closest analogues to disk-like proto-galaxies, the internal properties of nearby disk galaxies provide one of the most stringent test of cosmological simulations. A comprehensive IFS survey of the nearby galaxies is therefore required as it will simultaneously map the kinematics and dynamics, and chemical composition and ages of disk galaxies.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.