Operations staff astronomer at the VLT
The 'Great Attractor':
A major part of my PhD thesis consisted of distance measurements to early-type galaxies in the Hydra and Centaurus clusters (Mieske et al. 2005, see the two figures below). For these distance measurements we used the SBF method (Tonry & Schneider 1988).
The results of our distance measurements implied a significant peculiar velocity of the Hydra cluster, and a negligible peculiar velocity for Centaurus. This finding is consistent with a massive Great Attractor (~10^16 M_sun) at 45-50 Mpc distance, closer in projection to Hydra than to Centaurus.
At the 2006 E-ELT conference in Marseilles, I presented a talk about the perspective of doing large scale flow studies with the SBF method and the E-ELT out to z~0.1. This re-presents an interesting method to locally anchor H_0 and thus having an accurate zero-point for high-z studies of cosmic acceleration.
Above a simulated image of a galaxy as observed with the E-ELT, with the point sources being globular clusters associated with the galaxy. The faint mottling on scales of the PSF are the Surface Brightness Fluctuations, caused by statistical fluctuations of the number of stars per unit area and unit luminosity.