What turns spiral galaxies into elliptical galaxies in galaxy groups? (Theory Part)
Supervisor: Prof Michael Drinkwater
It is well known that dense galaxy clusters contain a much higher fraction of elliptical galaxies compared to spiral galaxies than more typical less dense regions of the Universe. Many processes have been proposed to explain how spiral galaxies can change into elliptical galaxies in clusters, but this environment is very complex and no clear explanation has emerged despite two decades of research.
In this project we will test the hypothesis that this transformation (from spiral to elliptical galaxy) is caused by the merging of large galaxies. We will avoid the complex environments of clusters and just look at lower density galaxy groups where we hope a single process is driving this transformation, making it a tractable problem to solve.
We will use data from recent galaxy surveys combined with simulations to test the hypothesis. The project will involve the detailed analysis of data from numerical simulations of galaxy formation and will require strong programming skills.