AR 13887 (Archival Research)

Sat Jul 20 09:21:14 GMT 2024

Principal Investigator: Greg Snyder
PI Institution: Space Telescope Science Institute
Investigators (xml)

Title: Observing the Origins of Galaxy Structure in the Illustris Simulation
Cycle: 22

Many processes affect the appearance of galaxies, and it has recently become possible to predict how these processes set internal galaxy structure in significant populations. Such calculations are poised to clarify the physics of star formation quenching, the cosmological formation of bulges and disks, and the observability of galaxy mergers. To advance these goals, we propose to build and analyze a very large set of mock HST images based on the Illustris Project. This accurate continuous-volume hydrodynamical simulation formed thousands of structurally diverse Milky Way-mass galaxies in {106.5 Mpc}^3 with detail comparable to the resolution of HST at many cosmic times. We will mock-observe 41,000 model galaxies at 0 < z < 5 in broadband filters used by ACS, WFC3, and JWST/NIRCAM, and measure automated morphology diagnostics from each image. This will constitute a timely and effective tool to advance two key goals of observational cosmology with HST: linking the building blocks of galaxies across cosmic time, and understanding the implications of galaxy morphology and structure. It will allow us to study the emergence of the Hubble Sequence, estimate merger rates and consequences, and interpret star formation patterns in distant galaxies. Therefore this model dataset is ideally suited to enhance results from HST Treasury and Archival Legacy surveys, the Ultra Deep Fields, and Frontier Fields. To increase the science return, we will publicly release our model images and morphology catalogs, providing a tool that can directly link physical mechanisms to high redshift galaxy data.