The Next Decade of Survey Astronomy
Department of Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
Tuesday February 21, 2012
4:00 pm - Sennott Square - Seminar Room 5317
Refreshments will be served.
G. Elisabeta Marai
In this talk, I will describe the current state of the art and the bright future for surveys of the distant Universe, which are producing increasingly large datasets that expertise from computer scientists can help us to analyze and visualize. These surveys help us to understand questions such as how the Milky Way we live in came to be and the constituent parts of the Universe itself. I will focus on several projects Pitt is playing a major role in. DEEP2, DEEP3, AEGIS, and CANDELS are studying the formation and evolution of galaxies using the largest telescopes on the Earth and in Space, including the largest project (in terms of time allocated) ever conducted using the Hubble Space Telescope. A future project in the planning stages is BigBOSS (the Big Baryon Oscillation Sky Survey), which will make a map of the Universe by making detailed measurements of millions of galaxies. Finally, LSST (the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) will obtain deep imaging of roughly half the sky, with repeated visits every three nights for ten years, using a custom-designed large telescope in Chile. LSST will provide a wide variety of probes of both dark energy and astrophysics via a 10-year observing campaign, beginning around 2018-2019. As an example of the scientific power of surveys, I will describe how these datasets have helped us to determine the color of the Milky Way as it would appear as seen from outside. Between planning these new surveys and extracting the first science from them, this should be an exciting decade for survey astronomy.
Biography of Speaker
Jeffrey Newman an assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. He does research on cosmology (the study of the Universe as a whole) and the evolution of galaxies, working on the DEEP2 Galaxy Redshift Survey, DEEP3, CANDELS, AEGIS, and the proposed LSST and BigBOSS projects. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000, and was a postdoctoral researcher at U.C. Berkeley and Hubble Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before coming to Pittsburgh in 2007.