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The Spiderweb galaxy (aka PKS1138-262) so called as this Hubble Space Telescope image gives it the appearance of flies being caught in its gravitational web. This proto-cluster is forming at just 3.5 billion years after the Big Bang and was discovered via its powerful radio emission (seen from the red contours). This project aims to use polarised radio observations to probe the intra-cluster medium in this system and possibly others. Picture credit: George Miley

The Spiderweb galaxy (aka PKS1138-262) so called as this Hubble Space Telescope image gives it the appearance of flies being caught in its gravitational web. This proto-cluster is forming at just 3.5 billion years after the Big Bang and was discovered via its powerful radio emission (seen from the red contours). This project aims to use polarised radio observations to probe the intra-cluster medium in this system and possibly others. Picture credit: George Miley

Clusters are the most massive bound structures in the Universe and are a unique place to study galaxy formation. Around half of the stellar mass of the Universe is produced in clusters or their proto-cluster ancestors. Tracing proto-clusters in the distant Universe is difficult as traditional techniques become much less effective. However, the most powerful radio sources are unique beacons of the earliest over-densities which form proto-clusters.

This project will investigate the feasibility of searching for massive clusters in the distant Universe around radio sources found with both the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). This project will use the publically available mid-infrared survey from the WISE mission to search for over-densities of galaxies around a given radio source.

This project will refine this technique on known distant clusters before extending it to discover new clusters, pushing back the epoch at which they are known and furthering our understanding of galaxy evolution. If this method proves successful this project could be expanded into a PhD utilising follow-up observations of these new proto-clusters.

Co-Supervisor

Dr Guillaume Drouart

Research Associate

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