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Galaxy evolution in the era of large surveys

Abstract

Understanding how galaxies form and evolve remains one of the most significant problems in Astrophysics. To meet this challenge, our group has developed a technique of spectral synthesis, the empirical population synthesis, which allows to identify the dominant stellar populations of galaxies from the analysis of their spectra. This technique is suitable for the analysis of data produced by large surveys that cover large areas on the sky and that became essential tools to efficiently address several problems of contemporary astrophysics and cosmology. We have applied this technique to SDSS data, examining several properties of the galaxy population from studies involving nearly a million spectra. In this project we wish to extend our empirical synthesis approach to high redshift and actively participate in the design and implementation of two new spectroscopic and photometric surveys, J-PAS (Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Survey) and SuMIRe (Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts). The latter will be conducted with the aid of a new spectrograph, the PFS (Prime Focus Spectrograph), in which construction we were invited to participate. Our goal with this project is to obtain resources to enable the effective development of these activities and, especially, allow us to develop a preliminary study of a PFS sub-system called FOCCOS, involving the optical fibres and their connectors, which will provide the optical interface between the telescope and the spectrograph. Although the main objective of these two surveys is the study of dark energy, they must bring invaluable contributions to several areas of modern astronomy, including galaxy evolution. (AU)

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