Hidden in the dark: the low surface brightness Universe

Monday, 18 March 2024 7 a.m. — 8 a.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
Mireia Montes (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias)
One of the last remaining frontiers in optical/near-infrared observational astronomy is the low surface brightness regime. This is the universe with the lowest density of stars, largely unknown to previous surveys such as the SDSS. Studying this regime promises to provide transformative insights into our knowledge of star formation in low-mass galaxies, the hierarchical structure of galaxies and galaxy clusters, and the ultimate nature of dark matter.  It plays a crucial role in completing our overall understanding of galaxy evolution and the physics of our Universe, as our theoretical models are calibrated to reproduce only a minority of objects and structures. The study of this realm has gained momentum over the last 20 years, thanks to technological and data processing advances that have allowed us to reach unprecedented observational depths.

In this talk I will discuss recent results showing how ultra-deep imaging is accelerating our ability to discover new objects and structures in the sky. In particular, I will highlight how the next generation of deep and wide surveys, such as LSST, will revolutionise our understanding of the Universe.