The TIMER project: Time Inference with MUSE in Extragalactic Rings
I am currently dedicating time and effort in leading a very exciting international project that uses an instrument at the Very Large Telescope called MUSE. MUSE is an integral field spectrograph that delivers 90000 spectra per pointing, across a field of 1 square arcminute, covering the entire optical range at a spectral resolution of a few thousand and with a spatial sampling of 0.2 arcseconds.
Since April 2016, the TIMER team is using MUSE to
study the central regions of 24 nearby galaxies. The
unique capabilities of MUSE allow us to study the different
structural components in these galaxies in detail. We have
derived the stellar ages, chemical compositions and star
formation histories of these components, and are studying
the kinematics and dynamics of their gaseous and stellar
constituents. This project will help us understand how
galaxies formed and evolved across cosmic history, a major
topic of investigation in Astrophysics today.
More specifically, the TIMER project will lead to robust
estimates of the formation redshift of the bars in these
galaxies. Because bars only form after the galactic disc reaches a
dynamically mature state, we will also put constraints to when
galaxy discs become dynamically mature, a key ingredient in our
understanding of how galaxies form and evolve.
Three of the galaxies in the TIMER sample are shown above; these are images from the beautiful Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey.
The TIMER project is carried out by a team of over 20 experts from research
institutes, universities and observatories in Germany, Spain, Austria, England,
Brazil, South Korea, and United States.
Fifty years of Secular Evolution in galaxies: where do we stand?
In September 2015, I prepared a talk to present at different institutes across Europe. My goal was to offer my perspective on the current understanding of some major internal processes in galaxy evolution. I discussed common misconceptions and open questions, and presented new results from MUSE. You can download the slides of the talk here: 50 yrs of Sec. Evol.; and one of these talks can be seen here: IAC talk.