NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0187

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Proposal Information for 2013B-0187


PI: Roberto Abraham, University of Toronto, abraham@astro.utoronto.ca
Address: Department of Astronomy, 60 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada

CoI: Ivana Damjanov, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Karl Glazebrook, Swinburne University of Technology
CoI: Peter McGregor, Australian National University
CoI: Steven Janssens, University of Toronto
CoI: Robert Sharp, Australian National University
CoI: Simon Morris, University of Durham
CoI: Anne-Marie Weijmans, University of Toronto
CoI: Lee Spitler, Macquarie University

Title: Red Nuggets in the Adaptive Optics Deep Field

Abstract: We propose to image a sample of high-redshift ultra-compact massive quiescent galaxies ('red nuggets') using GeMS and GSAOI. The physical nature of these systems is controversial. Until recently they were believed to be early-type galaxies, but most recent studies question this. They are poorly understood because they are so compact that they are difficult to resolve in the near-infrared with the Hubble Space Telescope. We therefore seek to observe these systems in K-band (at rest-frame visible wavelengths) to study the bulk of their stellar mass with a resolution higher than we have been able to achieve in the near-infrared with HST. Our goal is to determine if the nuggets are a population of early-type galaxies, or spirals with unusually massive bulges, or new class of galaxies unique unto themselves, or a mix of all of these. To accomplish this we have identified a set of 20 nuggets at 1.8<z<3.0 that are located in the Adaptive Optics Deep Field, a special location on the sky optimized for GeMS performance. We have spent the last two years undertaking preparatory imaging in this field (whose salutary features will result in exquisite AO performance with GeMS) in order to undertake this program. This program harnesses Gemini's adaptive optics capability in order to undertake an investigation in one of the most active areas of galaxy formation. It will also showcase how, in certain domains, Gemini can deliver an imaging capability beyond that of Hubble.


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



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