Thesis Topic: Mapping the star-formation history of early-type galaxies
Thesis Supervisor: Harald Kuntschner, Tim de Zeeuw
Observations with the SAURON integral-field instrument (http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/sauron) allow to map the dynamics and stellar populations of nearby early-type galaxies over a large area on the sky. Recent results include the discovery that galaxies come in two broad flavors (slow and fast rotators), depending on whether they exhibit significant large-scale rotation or not. This property is also linked with other physical key parameters (e.g., presence of kinematically decoupled cores, stellar populations and dark matter content) which makes it a vital ingredient to better understand the build-up of the red sequence of galaxies.
This project is aimed at understanding the links between the dynamics and stellar populations of early-type galaxies using data from the new ATLAS3D survey, a follow-up project of the SAURON survey, providing for the first time data for a statistically complete sample of 260 galaxies. The project offers research as part of an international team on existing, unique data, as well as to propose for new observations with the ESO-VLT facilities and to make use of large public datasets such as the Sloan survey.