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The Arecibo Radio Telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At 1000 feet (305 m) across, it is the second largest dish antenna in the world. Credit: H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF.

The Arecibo Radio Telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At 1000 feet (305 m) across, it is the second largest dish antenna in the world. Credit: H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF.

Hydrogen gas is the fuel for new stars to form in galaxies across the universe. With the recently completed ALFALFA survey of hydrogen across a large fraction of the sky, more galaxies have been mapped than ever before. However, it is challenging to match the gas maps with other observations (e.g., optical or ultraviolet images). In order to improve our understanding of these extreme gas-rich galaxies, we also need to know how many stars they have.

In particular, we have identified a population of extremely faint galaxies with surprisingly large amounts of gas. What prevents these gas-rich galaxies from forming new stars? Why have they been so difficult to discover until now? To answer these (and more) questions we must search for their optical, infra-red, and ultra-violet counterparts in the best data sets available from space and ground based telescopes. By completing the multi-wavelength coverage, we can try to explain the origins and evolution of these extreme galaxies.

PDF Project proposal and timeline