Kristen Coppin, Jim Geach, Maximilien Franco
Over half of the star formation energy generation in the Universe is extincted at optical wavelengths and enshrouded by dust which absorbs and re-radiates the starlight in the far-infrared/submm; and the sub-mm and mm atmospheric windows allow us to access the redshifted far-infrared emission from this obscured or ``hidden’’ side of galaxy formation and evolution. The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) Cosmology Legacy Survey (S2CLS; Geach et al. 2017) and its extension via the SCUBA-2 COSMOS survey (S2COSMOS; Simpson et al. 2017) and now S2XLS (PI Geach) and STUDIES (Wang et al. 2017) are the largest and most sensitive and ambitious single-dish surveys at 850 and 450 micron (in the submm wavebands) ever conducted. In addition, the 50-m Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico will be conducting unique and transformative imaging of the sky at millimeter wavelengths through a series of public Legacy Surveys (Ultra-Deep and Large Scale Structure surveys in particular) during 2020 using the new TolTEC camera. These unprecedented legacy surveys have been yielding thousands of high-redshift galaxies selected in the sub-mm/mm wavebands - providing an order-of-magnitude improvement in the sample sizes of previous surveys at these wavelengths!
With so much data now in-hand there are several possible projects that could be carved out using a combination of these legacy (sub)mm surveys with existing ancillary multi-wavelength data to make progress on a key outstanding question in galaxy evolution: How are dust and metals built up in massive galaxies over cosmic time? Some key science that could be explored with these data sets by a keen student include (for example): 1) constraining the (sub)mm source counts beyond the confusion limit (using a statistical P(D) fluctuation analysis); 2) locating and probing the high-redshift tail of the distribution of (sub)mm galaxies (via new mm observations); and 3) exploring new parameter space on the dust content, obscuration fraction, and gas content in galaxies (via (sub)mm observations) as a function of mass out to much higher-redshift than has previously been explored. The project can be tailored to some degree to match the student’s interests and skill set.
We are also involved in ongoing efforts to perform detailed follow-up of these high-z submm-detected sources at higher resolution with the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) situated at 5000m on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile. It is envisaged that the findings of this work will feed naturally into new ALMA and other telescope proposals, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).