MIFA Colloquium: Hayley Roberts, UMN Zooniverse Group

Megamasers, Major Mergers, and Machine Learning: Hunting for Merging Galaxies through Cosmic Time

Mergers play a significant role in the evolution of galaxies due to the profound impact on several key properties, including their physical structure, black hole growth, and star formation rates. Current methods for identifying and cataloging galaxy mergers predominantly rely on sensitive, high-resolution imaging and suffer from high misclassification rates - issues that are severely exacerbated outside the local universe. Next-generation telescopes from optical to radio, however, are now enabling novel approaches to find galaxy mergers. I will present methods for identifying major mergers in neutral hydrogen (HI) surveys using OH megamasers (OHMs). OHMs are luminous masers found in ultraluminous infrared galaxies and are signposts of major gas-rich mergers. HI surveys on next-generation radio telescopes, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and its precursors, will detect unprecedented numbers of OHMs out to redshift z~2, as exemplified through multiple recent discoveries. At shorter wavelengths, I will discuss how JWST is already revolutionizing our understanding of galaxy mergers and helping us prepare for future surveys from the Rubin Observatory and Roman Space Telescope with the help of citizen scientists.

Start date
Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, 2:30 p.m.
End date
Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, 3:30 p.m.

301-20 Tate