Dust-obscured Galaxies in the Early Universe

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Water Tower (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Alexandra Pope , University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Observations at submillimeter/millimeter (submm/mm) wavelengths (~0.25-1.4 mm) provide a unique view of galaxy formation, revealing galaxies in the early Universe (~1 Gyr after the Big Bang) that cannot be seen at optical wavelengths due to extreme dust obscuration. These submm/mm-selected galaxies (SMGs) pose a challenge to our models of galaxy evolution. Current surveys from single-dish telescopes are sensitive to only the most extreme galaxies forming stars >100 times the rate of the Milky Way, while the more typical galaxies that contribute ~80% to the total energy budget at these wavelengths remain elusive. I will discuss recent large area surveys of SMGs, and what they reveal about the formation of the massive galaxies and how they evolve over cosmic time. I will also talk about the potential for the next generation of submm/mm wavelength telescopes - including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) - to resolve some of the major challenges to understanding the nature these dust-obscured galaxies.