NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003A-0135

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Proposal Information for 2003A-0135


PI: Andrew Hopkins, University of Pittsburgh, ahopkins@phyast.pitt.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, 3941 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

CoI: Andrew Connolly, University of Pittsburgh
CoI: Alberto Conti, University of Pittsburgh
CoI: Jeff Gardner, University of Pittsburgh
CoI: Sam Schmidt, University of Pittsburgh

Title: Infrared Glimpses of the High Redshift Universe

Abstract: High redshift radio galaxies have long been used to probe the epoch of galaxy formation. As the likely progenitors of present day elliptical galaxies they represent an ideal sample from which to understand the physical mechanisms that drive the gravitational collapse and formation of the first massive bound systems. While the broad width of the redshift distribution of radio galaxies enables the study of the high redshift universe it has an associated disadvantage. To isolate the high redshift component from radio surveys extensive optical and near-infrared imaging surveys must be undertaken. The result of this is that the numbers of identified high redshift radio galaxies (z>3) are small (~ 30). Utilizing wide-field optical imaging surveys, such as the SDSS, we can remove this limitation by identifying likely high redshift candidates based on their optical properties. In fact, selecting radio sources with no optical counterpart in the SDSS will produce a sample of radio galaxies with a median redshift of z=2.9 and a lower redshift limit of approximately z=1.5. In this proposal we request time to target a representative sample of candidate high- redshift radio galaxies (L_1.4GHz > 100mJy) with the FLAMINGOS infrared imaging camera. The resulting near-infrared images will enable detection of radio galaxies close to the epoch of their formation, and provide an initial sample for study using subsequent spectroscopy and deeper imaging, probing details of the star formation history and morphological evolution of these systems.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003A-0135

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