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Astro Seminar

Learnings from the smallest galaxies in our Universe

Speaker: Martin Rey (University of Oxford)
Date: Wednesday 8 February 2023
Time: 14:00
Venue: N3.28/Zoom

Recent advances in imaging capabilities have transformed our understanding of galaxies at the low surface brightness frontier, unveiling a new population of ever smaller 'ultra-faint' dwarf galaxies. Such low-mass, feeble objects are highly sensitive to the physical processes that shape galaxies in our Universe, providing an ideal laboratory for testing galaxy formation models and the nature of dark matter. This same sensitivity, however, also generates extended scatter in their properties and uncertainties in model predictions. I will showcase new advances and techniques to improve the modelling of faint dwarf galaxies and interpret findings from deep, wide sky, surveys. I will show how 'genetically modified' cosmological simulations of galaxies now enable us to predict the expected diversity in the stellar and gaseous properties of the faintest galaxies in our Universe. And I will highlight how these objects can be used to provide new, powerful constraints on interstellar medium and stellar evolution models in extreme, low-metallicity environments.