Sydney University Astronomer awarded observing time on Hubble Space Telescope

10 July 2014

The dwarf galaxy Perseus
The dwarf galaxy Perseus

Professor Geraint Lewis from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA) at the School of Physics University of Sydney, has been awarded observing time on one of the world's premier observing facilities, the Hubble Space Telescope. Obtaining observations with this unparalleled telescope is extremely competitive, and this award has demonstrated that their research is world-leading.

As part of an international team, Professor Lewis has secured 28 Primary Spacecraft Orbits and 17 parallel spacecraft orbits in Cycle 22 of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) program due to begin in October this year.

The goal of Professor Lewis's research is to examine small dwarf galaxies orbiting our nearest cosmic companion, the Andromeda Galaxy. With the deep images available through the use of the Hubble Space Telescope, Professor Lewis and his team will unravel the lives of these little galaxies, determining the rate that these little galaxies have formed stars over the last ten billion years.

"With the award of these observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the School of Physics retains its place as a world leader in the unraveling of galaxy evolution in the local Universe, a field known as Galactic Archaeology." - Professor Geraint Lewis

While these little galaxies may seem, on the face of it, rather inconsequential, they are thought to live their lives shrouded in immense quantities of dark matter. Through understanding their star formation histories, these observations will provide clues to how these little galaxies have interacted with each other and their larger companion, and also reveal the nature of dark matter on the smallest cosmological scales.

Contact: Tom Gordon

Phone: 02 93513201

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