The Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) is an astronomical survey designed to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies as a function of both cosmic time (redshift) and the local galaxy environment. The survey covers a 2 square degree equatorial field with imaging by most of the major space-based telescopes and a number of large ground based telescopes, with many ongoing surveys. Over 2 million galaxies are detected, spanning 75% of the age of the Universe. The COSMOS survey involves more than 100 scientists in a dozen countries.
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The dominant processes that stop the formation of stars in galaxies is currently still unknown. Similarly, we do not know what grows galaxies after they stop their star formation and therefore should not change their size and mass anymore. Likely the life of very massive galaxies is very different than that of low-mass galaxies.
This new study on COSMOS targets to answering these questions for the most massive galaxies in our Universe by using the COSMOS/UltraVISTA near-infrared data.
Collision of two massive galaxies in the local Universe that will eventually become a massive, quiescent elliptical galaxy.
The COSMOS-VLA European core team are meeting in Heidelberg, Germany this week for a busy-week/workshop. We are talking about our work on galaxy evolution, which we have studied using our sensitive, high-resolution radio continuum observations of the COSMOS field taken with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). We are discussing how to measure the amount of star formation happening in distant galaxies, what radio wavelengths can teach us about AGN (galaxies hosting active supermassive black holes), mysterious sub-millimetre galaxies in the very distant Universe, and more! Thanks to the local organisers Philipp Lang and Eva Schinnerer for all their hard work.
A team of researchers, led by Behnam Darvish, have been able to examine the cosmic web in great detail thanks to the plethora of high-quality COSMOS data available. The team have used the accurate photometric redshifts available within COSMOS, out to large cosmic distances, to map the density field within COSMOS. That is, they have determined the location of clusters of galaxies, filaments of the cosmic web and "normal" density regions called "the field." The cosmic web is the large-scale, complex network of galaxies, dark matter and gas that pervades throughout the Universe. The team found that a galaxy's position within the cosmic web plays an important role in determining the evolutionary pathway taken by the galaxy. They found that the cosmic web has a different influence on the rate of star formation within central galaxies (existing inside regions of high gravitational potential) compared to satellite galaxies (existing on the outskirts of these clusters). These findings will pave the way for exciting future work with upcoming telescopes such as LSST, Euclid, and WFIRST.