May 09, 2013
Laura Ferrarese, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics / University of British Colombia
"The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies"
At a distance of 16.5 Mpc and with a gravitating mass of 4.2×10^14 solar masses, the Virgo Cluster is the dominant mass concentration in the local universe, the centre of the Local Supercluster, and the largest concentration of galaxies within ~35 Mpc. With thousands of member galaxies lying at a nearly common distance and spanning virtually all known morphological types, it has historically played a key role in studies of how galaxies form and evolve in dense environments. It is, without question, the most thoroughly studied cluster of galaxies in the universe, and remains a preferred target for a systematic survey of baryonic substructures in the low-redshift universe.
In this talk, I will describe an ambitious optical imaging survey of the Virgo cluster, the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS), that is being carried out using the MegaPrime instrument at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). The NGVS is designed to address a wide range of fundamental astrophysical questions, including: the faint-end shape of the luminosity function, the characterization of galaxy scaling relations over a factor 10^7 in mass, the cluster/intracluster medium/galaxy connection, and the fossil record of star formation and chemical enrichment in dense environments. I will present a brief overview of the NGVS and discuss preliminary results.
Some details about the NGVS can be gathered from the survey webpage: https://www.astrosci.ca/NGVS/The_Next_Generation_Virgo_Cluster_Survey/Home.html