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December 2022

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Daily image

Colloquium: The MeerKAT Fornax Survey: ubiquitous HI tails and clouds in the Fornax cluster

© Paolo Serra @ INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari

I will show first science results from the MeerKAT Fornax Survey. Our goal is to perform a detailed study of the nearby Fornax galaxy cluster in order to understand how galaxies lose their cold gas and stop forming stars in the densest regions of the cosmic web. We are doing so through very deep (down to ~1e+18/cm^2) and high resolution (up to ~ 1kpc and 1 km/s) MeerKAT observations of HI gas in a 1x2 Mpc^2 region centred on the Fornax cluster.

Our survey started in October 2020 and is now 50% complete. These first data focus on the central region of the Fornax cluster and reveal for the first time the ubiquitous presence of tails and clouds of HI. Some of the HI is clearly being removed from Fornax galaxies as they interact with one another, with the intra-cluster medium and/or with the large-scale gravitational potential. I will elaborate on these results in combination with recent observations of Fornax at other wavelengths.

The new MeerKAT data paint a completely new picture of the Fornax cluster. They demonstrate to what extent a significant leap forward in sensitivity and resolution can impact our understanding of astrophysical systems.

Colloquia

May 1, 2022

The Commensal Radio Astronomy FAST Survey (CRAFTS)

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) has released its first call for proposal and will be open to the international community next year. Based on a novel technique of high-cadence CAL injection, we have realized the world's first calibrated commensal survey mode, simultaneously taking data for pulsar search, HI galaxies, HI imaging, and FRBs. I introduce here one of the major survey plans, namely, the Commensal Radio Astronomy FAST Survey (CRAFTS, Li et al. 2018), which has discovered more than 100 new pulsars, including a few dozen MSPs, 5 new FRBs, including one new repeater. I will also briefly describe recent FAST results from CRAFTS and other dedicated programs, including new insights into the characteristic energy of FRBs, the formation process of neutron stars, the evolution of interstellar medium, etc.
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May 14, 2022

Extreme UV Emission: Bridging Galaxy Evolution Across Cosmic Time

In the last few years, our first glimpse of the spectral properties of z∼5−7 galaxies has emerged. Deep UV spectra have revealed prominent high-ionization nebular emission lines (i.e., C IV, He II, C III]) indicating that extreme radiation fields may be characteristic of reionization-era systems. While such strong high-ionization emission lines are atypical of the well-studied z∼0−3 galaxy samples, our recent UV spectral campaigns have revealed several galaxies with analogous emission-line features to reionization-era systems. I will discuss the recent detection of extremely strong UV emission in nearby galaxies and the potential sources of their very hard ionizing radiation fields. Such strong detections of high-ionization emission lines have been linked to the leakage of Lyman continuum (LyC) photons (necessary for reionization) both theoretically and observationally. These extreme UV emission-line dwarf galaxies provide a template for the extreme conditions that are important for reionization, however their features are still poorly understood. In preparation for the coming UV window onto the early universe with the advent of ELTs and JWST, I will introduce the COS Legacy Archival Spectroscopic SurveY - an upcoming large HST program designed to disentangle the stellar and nebular spectral signatures of 45 star-forming galaxies. This program will calibrate new UV diagnostics that will allow us to trace galaxy evolution to the distant universe, unveiling the properties of reionization-era galaxies.
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