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The influence of the environment on the evolution of galaxies

13 March 2009

PhD ceremony: G. Sikkema, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: The influence of the environment on the evolution of galaxies

Promotor(s): prof. R.F. Peletier, prof. E.A. Valentijn

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

In this thesis, we explore how the properties of galaxies depend on environment where they reside. The thesis consists of two parts, with each having its own data-set.

Part 1 consists of observations done with a wide-field CCD-camera mounted on a middle-sized telescope. In Groningen, a software system ASTRO-WISE has been developed that will reduce observations the upcoming wide-field camera OmegaCAM. Our observations were used as a testbed for ASTRO-WISE. We looked at a region on the sky with a size of 16 full moons, which contains several galaxy clusters at a distance of about 1 billion lightyears. One type of galaxy, the so-called S0 galaxies, seem to have formed quite fast in the past few billion years in clusters. These type of galaxies probably evolve from spiral galaxies. Our observations give clues about how and where this transformation occurs. We find that the so-called red spirals might be a transition type of galaxy: between normal spirals and S0s. Furthermore, we find morphological differences between several types of galaxies in low and high density regions.

Part 2 consists of Hubble Space Telescope dataof six relatively nearby shell galaxies. Shell galaxies are elliptical galaxies which deviations (shells) in their light distribution. We have determined very precisely the colours and shapes of shells as well as the presence of dust in these galaxies. The results imply that shells are the remains of small dwarf galaxies that have merged with the much larger elliptical galaxy. We also looked if the shell galaxies contain recently formed globular clusters. We find that two out of six of our shell galaxies show evidence for young globular clusters.

 

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.
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