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Star formation in a fat galaxy cluster: MeerKAT and SALT observations of El Gordo

El Gordo is a massive merging galaxy cluster at z = 0.87, originally discovered using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. It hosts radio relics, which trace the position of a shock wave that has passed through the cluster as a result of the merger. In this project we will test if the star formation rate in cluster member galaxies is enhanced in the vicinity of the merger shocks. We will do this using deep MeerKAT L-band continuum observations (obtained by SARAO), in combination with SALT [OII] 3727 Å observations, and archival spectroscopic observations. The student will extract flux measurements for sources detected in the MeerKAT data, cross-match these with member galaxies identified from the optical data, and in turn infer their star formation rates. While this project is entirely self-contained, there is the potential to apply the techniques used here to a larger statistical cluster sample in the future.
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