Mapping Dark Matter
2MASS Redshift Survey
Galaxies are distributed in long filaments, huge “walls”, and large clusters, which astronomers call the large-scale structure of the cosmos. This structure is a tracer of dark matter, and is a way to understand how the universe has evolved. The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) is an ambitious map of the galaxies relatively close to the Milky Way. Led by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, 2MRS used data collected from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), which is an an atlas of the entire sky in infrared light. The completed 2MRS project resulted in a three-dimensional view of the distributions of nearby galaxies, providing a way to understand the structure of the modern universe and distribution of dark matter.
GMACS - Moderate Dispersion Optical Spectrograph for the Giant Magellan Telescope is a powerful optical spectrograph that will unlock the power of the Giant Magellan Telescope for research ranging from the formation of stars and planets to cosmology.
Physics of the Primordial Universe
The Big Bang theory of cosmology successfully describes the 13.7 billion years of evolutionary history of our Universe. However, it is known that the origin of the Big Bang is incomplete. We are interested in finding out what caused the Big Bang, and the physics involved in this primordial epoch. We study physics, build models and propose observables for the primordial universe using quantum field theory, general relativity and/or string theory, and test them with data from astrophysical observations.
CfA Redshift Catalog
The universe is expanding, carrying galaxies with it like flotsam on a fast-flowing river. This expansion also stretches the wavelength of light, which astronomers call cosmological redshift, since it pushes visible light colors toward the red end of the spectrum. That means astronomers can determine the distance to far-away galaxies by measuring the redshift of light they produce. The CfA Redshift Catalog (ZCAT), created by researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, is a clearinghouse for historical redshift data from a number of observatories, including the 1.5-Meter Tillinghast Telescope and the MMT Observatory, both CfA-operated telescopes located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Arizona. This data provides a map of galaxies in three dimensions, allowing astronomers to piece together how galaxies group on the largest scales in the universe. ZCAT is an essential resource for data on redshift surveys up to 2008, carrying on the legacy of the original CfA Redshift Surveys conducted in the 1970s and ‘80s.