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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Study Of Galaxy Formation And The Development Of MOSFIRE

  • Author(s): Kulas, Kristin Rose
  • Advisor(s): McLean, Ian S.
  • et al.

The epoch of z~2-3 is a noticeably more active time in our universe for galaxies, with the global star-formation rate density at its peak. Galaxies during this era are experiencing many internal and external processes such as large-scale outflows from star formation or active galactic nuclei (AGN) activity, inflows from cool gas, and mergers, which can alter the properties (e.g., structure, metallicity, star-formation rate, velocity dispersion) and evolution of galaxies. This elevated level of activity makes z~2-3 objects ideal for examining galaxy formation. In the rest-frame optical many important diagnostic lines exist that allow one to study galaxy properties, including the Balmer series, [O III]λλ5007,4959 and [N II]λ6584. For galaxies at z~2-3, however, these lines will become very faint and shift into the near- infrared wavelength regime. As a consequence of this, near-infrared spectroscopy on a large telescope plays an integral role in studying high-redshift galaxies. For my thesis I have used near-infrared spectroscopy, acquired at the Keck Observatory, to study in depth how gas supplies are regulated during the formation of galaxies. Simultaneously, I have also worked to bring to realization one of the most advanced near-IR spectrographs for the astronomical community through my instrumentation research on MOSFIRE, the Multi-Object Spectrometer For Infrared Exploration.

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