Galaxy evolution is driven by a complex combination of internal (nature) and external (nurture) processes. Gas stripping due to ram pressure arises as a galaxy falls into the dense intracluster medium of a galaxy cluster, and is among the most violent environmental experiences a galaxy can have. The most spectacular examples of ram-pressure stripping in action are the so-called "jellyfish galaxies", which display extended tails of optically bright stripped material. I will review several theoretical and observational studies that aim to characterize the effect of gas stripping in galaxy evolution, including the latest results of the large MUSE program GASP, dedicated to studying jellyfish galaxies. Finally, I will, present the recent discovery of a previously unknown connection between ram-pressure stripping and nuclear black hole activity.
Mount Kent Observatory at the University of Southern Queensland is host to Australia's newest astronomical research facilities. MINERVA-Australis is the only Southern hemisphere precise radial velocity facility wholly dedicated to follow-up of thousands of planets to be identified by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey satellite (TESS). Mass measurements of these planets are critically necessary to maximise the scientific impact of the TESS mission, to understand the composition of exoplanets and the transition between rocky and gaseous worlds. MINERVA-Australis is now operational. I present first-light results and give an update on the status of the project, which will ultimately host six 0.7m telescopes feeding a stabilised spectrograph.
The Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) is establishing a node at Mount Kent. SONG-Australia will complete the global longitude coverage, delivering breakthroughs in fundamental understanding of the interiors of stars for decades to come. SONG-Australia is designed on a "MINERVA" model, whereby fibres from multiple small telescopes feed a single high-resolution spectrograph. This approach provides expandability and reduces cost by using factory-built components that have been well-tested by the MINERVA teams. As a result of these innovations, SONG-Australia is expected to be fully operational by late 2019.
During the first part of my talk, I will briefly present the first Data Release (DR1) of the SkyMapper Southern Survey. The DR1 covers approximately 20,000 square degrees from the Shallow Survey component, complete to roughly 18 mag in all six SkyMapper filters (uvgriz). This database contains over 2.1 billion photometric measurements for about 285 million unique astrophysical objects, which will serve as the calibration source for upcoming Main Survey component (Data Release 2). The second part of my talk will focus on the SkyMapper follow-up program to search for optical counterparts of gravitational wave (GW) events and fast radio bursts (FRB) found by advanced LIGO/Virgo and Australian-based radio facilities, respectively. The identification of electromagnetic counterpart is essential for improving our current observational interpretation of their astrophysical nature. I will discuss lessons from recent case studies but also introduce our strategy for preparing efficient multi-messenger observations in our next observing run.
One of the biggest challenges in modern cosmology is to understand the first generation of stars and galaxies that formed during the cosmic Dark Ages. Since they reside in the observationally unexplored territory, we need to predict the properties of the first galaxies by pushing numerical simulations to new levels of physical realism and detail. In this talk, I will present the results of our highly-resolved cosmological ab-initio simulations to understand the assembly process of first galaxies under the feedback from the first generation of stars, the so-called Population III. Also, I will illustrate how first galaxies can be connected with their local descendants in terms of chemical abundances in the local ultra-faint dwarf galaxies.
The recent discoveries of gravitational waves from the advanced LIGO have already been critical cosmological resources. Here, I will present cosmological implications of gravitational wave detection, and show how current and future gravitational observatories can advance our knowledge on the nature of dark matter and dark energy.