Massive Distant Galaxies are Way Too Small and and Why I Love l'Observatoire du mont Mégantic
University of Toronto
This disjointed talk has two parts. In the first, I will describe a puzzling open question in galaxy formation that has emerged from recent observations made by Gemini and HST. In the second part of the talk I describe how the the OMM is being used to test an instrument which will be used to look for the first galaxies, which formed at redshifts z > 7. Part 1: I will recap the main results from the Gemini Deep Deep Survey (GDDS), a survey of galaxies in the redshift range 1 < z < 2. In a series of papers published over the last four years, the GDDS survey has shown that massive and old galaxies are surprisingly common in the distant Universe. The oldest and most massive galaxies in the GDDS resemble nearby elliptical galaxies in most ways, but with a surprising difference: they are much more compact and dense than nearby galaxies of similar mass. I'll describe some ideas for how such objects might have formed, dismiss them all, and conclude that we're clearly missing something pretty fundamental about how galaxy formation works. Part 2: I will describe the plans for the Gemini Genesis Survey, a next-generation survey which will search for the first galaxies which formed in the Universe. This survey will be conducted using the FLAMINGOS-2 Tandem Tunable Filter (F2T2), an engineering prototype for the James Webb Space Telescope's Tunable Filter Imager. F2T2 is currently being tested on the OMM 1.6m telescope.
Date: Thursday, 13 November 2008 Time: 12:15 Where: Université de Montréal Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, Local D-460 Contact: René Doyon