NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0174

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0174


PI: Trinh Thuan, University of Virginia, txt@virginia.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, PO Box 3818, Charlottesville, VA, 22903-0818, USA

CoI: Hiroyuki Hirashita, INAF/Osservatorio di Arcetri, Italy
CoI: Leslie Hunt, CNR/IRA-Firenze, Italy
CoI: Suzanne Madden, CEA/Saclay, France
CoI: Stephanie Plante, Universite Laval
CoI: Marc Sauvage, CEA/Saclay, France
CoI: Tsutomu Takeuchi, National Astronomical Observatory, Japan

Title: Searching for Dust in Metal-Poor Star-Forming Blue Compact Dwarf Galaxies

Abstract: Although dust plays a key role in most theories of star formation, the first star-forming episodes in the early universe are thought to take place in a dust-free environment. Such a picture of primordial star formation has however been recently challenged by observations of substantial amounts of dust in an extremely metal-poor (metallicity 2.5% solar ) Blue Compact Dwarf (BCD), SBS0335-052. Theoretical models suggest that this is not an exceptional case, and that dust could pervade star formation in the early universe. We propose to study the dust content of a small sample of low-metallicity BCDs through the acquisition of N+Q1+Si-5 images with Michelle. Because of their low metallicity, such galaxies are good approximations to primordial environments, and serve as nearby laboratories for the study of dust properties and formation mechanisms. Moreover, with these observations, we will be able to investigate the newly-discovered 'dichotomy' in star- formation regimes, namely 'active' and 'passive', thought to be characterized by differences in the sizes, densities, and dust properties of the star-forming regions.


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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