Galaxy Structure and Evolution

ICCUB research in this area includes both galactic and extragalactic astronomy:

Galactic astronomy

Galactic astronomy is the study of the Milky Way, a barred spiral galaxy containing several structural components. A barred bulge is in the central part extending out to 10 thousand light-years, which harbors a 4 million solar mass black hole in the center surrounded by a nuclear star cluster. Outside the bar, the thin disk extends from 10000 to 50000 light-years, and contains most of the stellar and gaseous mass and most of the star formation activity of the Galaxy. The thick disk harbors stars of intermediate ages and its origin is still debated. Around the disk is the halo, a roughly spherical structure extending much further than the disk, which contains very few stars but most of the mass of the Galaxy. The halo also contains about 200 globular clusters, which are bound systems of thousands of stars that are orbiting around the center of the Milky Way, and streams of stars that trace past mergers of dwarf galaxies with the Milky Way. The large mass of the halo is inferred from measurements of velocities of stars and gas; we do not know what this mass is made of, and we call it dark matter. Independent evidence for the existence of dark matter in the Universe comes to us from cosmology. [+]

Extragalactic astronomy

Extragalactic astronomy studies the structure and evolution of galaxies and the intergalactic medium beyond the Milky Way. This includes a large array of objects ranging from dwarf galaxies, quasars and clusters of galaxies, and spanning the last 13 billion years of the history of the Universe. Extragalactic astronomy is a fertile research ground where many branches of physics (high energy physics, cosmology, hydrodynamics, radiative processes...) converge.[+]

ICCUB Contribution
Galactic astronomy

Research in galactic astronomy at the ICCUB includes three main lines of research: galaxy modelling, the study of stellar constituents and stellar luminosity calibration. At present, this research is fully influenced by the scientific exploitation of the Gaia mission data, in which ICCUB researchers are deeply involved (see the GAIA Mission link for more information). [+]

Extragalactic astronomy

ICCUB’s interest in galactic astrophysics extends beyond the Milky Way and is concerned, too, with the formation of the first galaxies, which were formed from pristine matter. They comprised population III stars, which reionised the intergalactic medium, polluted it with metals and left behind the seeds of SMBHs. These are processes currently being modeled at ICCUB. [+]

Lines of Research
Members