Resolved studies of high redshift galaxies:
Witnessing the growth of galaxies at z ~ 1 – 3

BzK 15504

Spatially- and spectrally-resolved information of the rest-frame optical line and continuum emission is proving very powerful in exploring the physical processes that drive the baryonic mass assembly and star formation of distant galaxies. With our major SINS/zC-SINF and KMOS3D surveys of near-IR imaging spectroscopy with SINFONI and KMOS at the Very Large Telescope, coupled with Hubble Space Telescope imaging and with multi-line spectroscopic observations with LUCI at the Large Binocular Telescope, we are investigating in detail the resolved gas kinematics, stellar populations and structure, galactic outflows, excitation, and metallicities of young galaxies from 2 to 8 billion years after the Big Bang. Our PHIBSS/PHIBSS2 surveys with the IRAM NOEMA millimeter interferometer provide the essential complementary view of the cold molecular gas content, distribution, and kinematics. These surveys are revealing the importance of internal galaxy dynamics in growing early disks and bulges, and the nature and energetics of feedback — pinning down for the first time details of physical processes driving and regulating early galaxy evolution in the emerging "equilibrium growth model."


SINS/zC-SINF takes advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by SINFONI at ESO's Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal, Chile, a near-infrared integral field unit (IFU) spectrometer combined with an adaptive optics (AO) system that delivers sharp images simultaneously with high resolution spectral information. KMOS3D, our on-going multi-year survey with the KMOS instrument as part of Garanteed Time Observations with MPE/OPINAS+USM, is taking the next major step towards a comprehensive and unbiased view of the resolved properties of galaxies at the heyday of massive galaxy formation. It capitalizes on the worlwide unique combination of integral field spectroscopy and multiplexing of KMOS, featuring 24 integral field units patrolling a wide field of 7 arcmin in diameter. KMOS has opened up an entirely new dimension in detailed spatially- and spectally-resolved studies of distant galaxies — after only 2.5 years, our comprehensive and highly successful KMOS3D survey has collected very sensitive and detailed data of over 550 individual objects at 0.6 < z < 2.7, spanning a wide range in galaxy parameter space and probing into regimes unexplored so far with near-IR IFU studies such as massive galaxies in the process of quenching their star formation activity. The multiplexing capabilities of the LUCI near-IR multi-slit spectrograph and imager at the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, near Tucson, Arizona, make surveys of multiple emission lines of large samples up to 20 times more efficient than classical single-object long-slit instruments. Coupled with the ground-layer AO system ARGOS, currently being commissioned, our high redshift galaxy research will strongly benefit from the increased sensitivity, the spatially resolved spectroscopy, and the higher spectral resolution that can be uniformly achieved over a wide field up to 4 arcmin across with the unprecedented combination of multiplexed spectroscopy and AO-assisted angular resolution with LUCI + ARGOS.

We participate in:

  • IMPRS: the International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics

We were also part of:

loading content