The first galaxies in the universe were uniformly low mass, morphologically compact, and chemically pristine. Over time, galaxies continuously built up their mass via gravitational interactions with other galaxies and accretion of primordial gas, resulting in a continued increase in star formation and metal production. Cosmic star formation rate density in galaxies reached a peak around 2-3 billion years ago and has since rapidly declined as they continued to evolve, leaving a diverse array of galaxy structures and properties in the present day.
Astronomers have been left trying to answer the questions of how this rapid decline in star formation shaped the ubiquitously massive and intensely star forming galaxies we see at earlier times into the complex and diverse galaxies we see today. This understanding requires, on large scales, statistical studies of large samples of present day galaxies to understand their diverse set of properties, and, on small scales, spatially resolved studies of diffuse gas in and around individual galaxies to understand the specific mechanisms driving the baryon cycles within galaxies that determine those properties.
In this talk I present several projects that leverage novel instrumentation to address this question on both large and small scales. This includes large ground-based spectroscopic surveys mapping outflows from M82 and other local galaxies, as well as upcoming spectroscopic surveys using the LASP-built Supernova Remnants and Proxies for ReIonization Testbed Experiment (SPRITE) CubeSat; NASA’s first 12U CubeSat and first far-UV orbital mission in over 20 years. My talk concludes with an introduction to LASP’s newest CubeSat project, Monitoring Activity from Nearby sTars with uv Imaging and Spectroscopy (MANTIS), which will take a tangent to study the influence stellar UV flux on exoplanet habitability and is planned for launch in late 2026.
LASP – Space Science Building
3665 Discovery Drive, Boulder, CO 80303