Revealing the Monsters: Characterization of Ultra-massive Galaxies in the Early Universe
Galaxy formation is one of the major unsolved puzzles in astrophysics. And one of the most controversial questions in this area is when and how the most massive galaxies formed. Marchesini aims to comprehensively characterize, for the first time, the properties (number density, star-formation activity and other qualities) of ultra-massive galaxies formed early in the history of the universe. He notes that the existence of a significant population of these “monster” galaxies when the universe was only about 3 billion years old poses problems for the standard model of galaxy formation. The educational portion of his project involves promoting active learning, as opposed to passively learning through lectures, in an introductory course of astronomy for non-science majors. He will emphasize critical thinking and active discussions in the course. One of his major goals is to provide undergraduate students (both science and non-science majors) with the opportunity to do research through a network of remote, robotically controlled, automatically queued telescopes located worldwide. The network is maintained by the American Association of Variable Star Observers.