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The dynamical mass of galaxies represents the best way to quantify the total matter (visible+dark) locked into halos. It can then be used to quantify the role of dark matter in driving the collapse of baryons and the efficiency of this process. In the past, dynamical masses have mainly been estimated by using either measures of the rotational velocity of gas, or dispersion velocity of stars. However, in galaxies gas and stars are supported by both random and ordered motions, and the balance between rotation and dispersion depends on the morphology of galaxies. Thus, it is vital to include both quantities in the determination of dynamical mass. Thus, it is far from trivial as it requires resolved velocity maps for galaxies of different types.

In this project, the student will take advantage of optical integral field spectroscopic data obtained as part of the SAMI survey to test a novel technique to combine rotation and dispersion velocity and determine homogenous dynamical mass measurements for a uniquely large sample of galaxies. The student will become a member of the SAMI survey team, gain extensive familiarity with observational astronomy and, depending on performance, could have the chance to also compare the results with the predictions of theoretical models. This project is mainly observational, and the student will acquire skills in reduction and interpretation of multi-wavelength data. Moreover, the student will have the opportunity to collaborate with the theory group at ICRAR to compare his/her findings with the predictions from the most advanced cosmological simulations.

Associated Researchers

Dr Barbara Catinella

Senior Research Fellow

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