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Ministry Project: PID2019-107427GB-C33

Funding Body: MINECO

Main Researcher: Vicent Quilis Quilis


One of the main challenges of modern astrophysics is to understand the mechanisms responsible for the formation of galaxies and for their properties, as we see them today. Galaxy evolution results both from dynamics of dark matter on large scales and from small scale processes like gas dynamics, cooling, star formation, stellar evolution and stellar feedback. As the relative contribution of all these mechanisms is difficult to establish, either in individual galaxies or in the galaxy population as a whole, the evolution of galaxies is in many aspects still a puzzle. For example, why some local galaxies have old stellar populations and little gas content, while others host ongoing star formation and are gas rich? What is the origin of the spheroidal components of galaxies and of their disks? What is the role of impulsive starbursts, possible triggered by merging events, and what is the role of smooth, secular star formation, during the evolution of galaxies? What triggers star formation and what stop it? What is the role of stellar feedback and what are the timescales on which it operates? What is the connection, if any, between the evolution of the central supermassive black holes and the evolution of their host galaxies? Which role plays the environment where the galaxies inhabit?

These and other fundamental questions are the motivation for the present project, which is a continuation of the coordinated projects AYA2007-67752, AYA2010-21322, AYA2013-48226 and AYA2016-77237 carried out at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and Universitat de València (UV).

All these processes leave an imprint on the observational properties of individual galaxies, groups and clusters, and on the intergalactic medium. Morphologies, kinematics, stellar ages and chemical abundances, are all a consequence of the past history. The interpretation of all these observation data is, however, complicated, and requires the use of complex hydrodynamical simulations. Furthermore, a global understanding of galaxy evolution requires a deep knowledge in very different areas of astronomy. This is the reason why we apply for a coordinated project.

Our different groups combine experience, expertise and research tools in complementary fields, including both, theoretical cosmological simulations, stellar populations synthesis, chemical evolution models and observational analyses.