Wednesday, August 16, 2006

L. Tacconi on "Spatially resolved kinematics of z=2-3 galaxies"

When studying distant galaxies, their spectra are shifted redward. For example, the strong optical emission line H-alpha is shifted to the infrared when observing at reedshift of 2. Emission lines can be used to measure the movement of the gas in galaxies with the help of the Doppler-effect. If you now have an instrument that measures this at each point in a galaxy, i.e. if you have a spectrum at each pixel of your "image", you can study "velocity fields" of the kind that I also have on my poster.

SINFONI at the VLT is such an instrument, working in the IR. The speaker presents very nice kinematical data of these far-away (z=2) objects and it is impressive how fast progress is going in this field. They find the objects to rotate and having disturbed morphologies. This may be not really surprising. A paper by Tacconi and collaborators (Genzel et al. 2006) that will be published in Nature tomorrow, will show the finding of a very interesting case with very high-resolution data.

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