GAMA

Galaxies aren’t just visible in optical wavelengths, they shine at all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. By looking at galaxies at various wavelengths, astronomers are able to see different structures than they would if they were limited by optical wavelengths. This allows astronomers to have a better understanding of how different types of galaxies form and evolve.

A galaxy from GAMA observed at different wavelengths from ultraviolet to the far infrared. The graph shows how much energy is being generated at the different wavelengths.

A galaxy from GAMA observed at different wavelengths from ultraviolet to the far infrared. The graph shows how much energy is being generated at the different wavelengths. Image: ICRAR & GAMA

The Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) Survey collected spectroscopic data of 300,000 galaxies during 200 nights using the AAT from 2008 to 2014. Data were collected using the 2dF fibre positioning robot and the AAOmega spectrograph. The survey also gathered data for each galaxy from a variety of ground-based and space-based telescopes, covering 21 wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared.  

GAMA's primary science goals include studying the evolution of mass, energy and structure in the Universe over the past few billion years. In particular its goals included the following:

1. To test modified theories of gravity, Cold Dark Matter models and galaxy formation models.

2. To measure the connection between star formation fuelling, stellar mass build-up and feedback processes.

3. To determine the mechanisms that govern the build-up of stellar content of galaxies.

4. To directly measure the recent galaxy merger rate.

 GAMA revealed that the energy being generated in the Universe is half as much as it was 2 billion years ago – the Universe is slowly dying. Although the fact that the universe is fading has been known since 1990, GAMA showed that this is happening across all wavelengths in galaxies.

The distribution of galaxies as mapped by survey teams in Australia, US and Europe. GAMA surveyed 5 slices of the sky, mapping the galaxy distribution further back in time than previously ever before. Each dot in this image is a galaxy. In total we have mapped over 4 million galaxies

The distribution of galaxies as mapped by survey teams in Australia, US and Europe. GAMA surveyed 5 slices of the sky, mapping the galaxy distribution further back in time than previously ever before. Each dot in this image is a galaxy. In total we have mapped over 4 million galaxies. Image: ICRAR & GAMA

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