Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxies: Exploring Star and Galaxy Formation Long, Long Ago with Galaxies that are Not so Far Away
Graduate Student, Department of Physics & Astronomy
Johns Hopkins University
The ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxy satellites of the Milky Way are ancient, low luminosity, metal-poor dark-matter dominated systems. They appear to be well-preserved fossil relics of star and galaxy formation in the early Universe, and thanks to their close proximity, we can obtain photometric, astrometric, and spectroscopic data for individual stars in many of these systems. With these data, we gain a unique vantage point from which we can explore questions about the early epochs of star and galaxy formation. In this talk, I will first discuss how we can identify the outermost extents of UFD galaxies, and what these outer regions can tell us about their dynamical states and total masses. I will then detail the mystery surrounding the low-mass end of the stellar populations of external galaxies, and explain how constraints from ultra-deep imaging of UFD galaxies can help to solve the mystery. Finally, I will conclude by highlighting some of the exciting science that future instruments and observatories will enable.
Hosted by Prof. Kirby