Galaxy Clustering and Physics of the Dark Universe

Cosmology is a bursting scientific area backing many of the most ambitious theoretical, instrumental and observational initiatives in Astrophysics. Our research line is meant to address key aspects in Physical Cosmology and to contribute to its development through science driven projects. Our research activity for the next years covers the following topics:

  1. Dark Matter Distribution and Nature: Galaxy Dynamics - Dark Matter detection - Clustering and properties of Dark Matter halos from observations and simulations - Structure formation and Growing Factor.
    Projects: MAGIC, GAW, Simulations, WINGS, SIDE, XMS
  2. Dark Energy Nature and Cosmological implications: Baryon Acoustic Oscillation: observations and simulations. Conditions for an optimum survey - Other Dark Energy tracers: Galaxy Clusters and Voids - Structure formation and Growing Factor.
    Projects: PAU, SIDE, XMS
  3. Clustering and Cosmic Evolution.: Luminosity and Mass Functions, Cosmic Star Formation rate - Merging rate - Morphological evolution and mixing - The Extragalactic Background Light and the evolution of galaxies - QSO population - Structure formation and Growing factor.
  4. CMB Physics.

The approach intends to be comprehensive, including theoretical, observational (mainly through large scale surveys) and instrumental activities, to cope with the main aspects of each problem we are considering. The instrumental initiatives are indispensable to obtain the amount of quality data needed to contribute to the problems under consideration.

We are already active in several major science projects along these lines. They are multi-angle approaches involving theoretical, observational and instrumental efforts.

  • ALHAMBRA: The main goal is Cosmic Evolution. It will also contribute significantly to other areas in solar system, stellar physics, and in the extragalactic domain.
  • WINGS: The project is building a fairly representative sample of local Galaxy Clusters with an exhaustive study of their properties.
  • PAU: The goal of this project is to study the Physics of the Accelerating Universe.
  • Gamma-ray Cosmology: Through our involvement in the MAGIC collaboration, the R&D GAW experiment and the exploitation of FERMI all-sky survey we are addressing the problem of the nature of the Dark Matter, the Extragalactic Background Radiation and the properties of AGNs and Galaxy Clusters in this energy range.
  • Computational Astrophysics: Analysis of cosmological high resolution simulations are being studied to understand the formation and properties of Dark Matter halos, Clustering and the Large Scale Structure of the Universe. We plan to take advantage of the GRID-CSIC infrastructure at the IAA, the CESGA and MareNostrum supercomputer facilities.
  • Spectroscopy Survey Science: Through our experience in the science exploitation of massive spectroscopy surveys such the SDSS, 2dF and DEEP2 we are leading new survey prospect studies for the construction of multi-object spectrographs at Calar Alto and GTC.

We are also involved and leading the following projects with a high degree of instrumental development, i.e.

  • GAW (Gamma Air Watch): An R&D project to build a wide field and high sensitivity Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope Array at Calar Alto for Gamma-ray Cosmology. More info
  • SIDE (Super IFU Deployable Experiment) and its pathfinder the miniSIDE:  A survey fiber-fed spectrograph dedicated to massive wide field MOS and 3D spectroscopy in the visible and near-IR proposed for the GTC at La Palma. More info
  • XMS (eXtreme Multiplexed Spectrograph), a survey multi-slit spectrograph dedicated to massive wide field spectroscopy in the visible, for the 3.5m telescope at Calar Alto.
  • Survey 2.5m telescope, to be installed in Sierra de Javalambre, Teruel (Spain).
  • PAU-CAmera, in construction for the 2.5m Survey Telescope at Javalambre., Teruel (Spain).

The technology development of SIDE and XMS will be implemented and executed by the at the IAA. Regarding the data taking, WINGS is already completed and it is now in the scientific exploitation phase. ALHAMBRA has already accumulated about 70% of the needed data and it is planned to be finished with the data taking by 2010. The gamma-ray data are currently being taken with MAGIC. As for GAW, we plan to have the first telescope operational from 2010 on. We are activilly using databases from other major surveys such as SDSS, 2dF, DEEP2 and FERMI satellite.