Connecting Galaxies, Halos, and Star Formation Rates across Cosmic Time


Wednesday, August 26 2009 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Risa Wechsler
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and Physics Department, Stanford University

Numerous complementary observations over the past decade have pinned down the initial conditions for structure formation just a few hundred thousand years after the big bang, and also indicate that the matter density of the Universe is dominated by "cold" dark matter (CDM). The non-linear evolution of structures can then be followed using numerical simulations of the dark matter distribution, which indicate that dark matter quickly clumps into bound objects known as dark matter halos. Recent studies indicate that galaxy properties are tightly correlated with the masses of these dark matter halo hosts. Dr. Wechsler will present a new observationally-motivated model for understanding how halo masses, galaxy stellar masses, and star formation rates are related, and how these relations evolve with time. This provides a framework for understanding a wide variety of galaxy properties and their evolution in the the context of the evolution of dark matter structure.

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