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Can galaxy cluster dynamical state be determined only from optical imaging data?

Project: 
The population of galaxy clusters is divided according to dynamical state. Some clusters are relaxed, while others are undergoing mergers and are dynamically disturbed. Merging clusters can be identified by optical spectroscopy, X-ray observations, and the observation of diffuse radio emission (halos and relics) - however, all of these observations are expensive to do in terms of telescope time. In this project, we will use multi-band photometric data from large surveys (SDSS, DES, DECaLS etc.) to make galaxy density maps in the vicinity of clusters, using the output from the zCluster code (https://github.com/ACTCollaboration/zCluster). We will try to develop a statistic based purely on these density maps (perhaps asymmetry, concentration, offset from X-ray/SZ centre - anything you can think of...) to identify merging clusters, which can potentially be prioritised for observations with MeerKAT.
Node This Project Is Offered On: 
(UKZN)

Supervisor

Matt
Hilton

Co-Supervisor

Requirements for students to address: 
Python coding skills - but of course this is a good opportunity to learn...
Research Area: 
Astrophysics


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Available_projects | by Dr. Radut