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Galaxies and Cosmology

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In optical astronomy we are studying galaxy populations and their evolution using surveys of nearby galaxies to look for previously undetected low surface brightness and compact galaxies, and observations of more distant clusters and groups to look for evidence of the evolution of their galaxy content.

The Fornax Cluster Spectroscopic Survey uses the 2dF multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope to measure redshifts for complete samples of objects detected in the direction of the Fornax Cluster, while the Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Survey of the Coma Cluster has used the HST to image the nearest extremely massive cluster at high resolution, in order to explore the galaxy population in such an environment in great detail (Phillipps, Huxor, Price).

Other survey work concentrates on the highest redshift galaxies, thus exploring the first structures that formed in the universe and the `epoch of reionization', the era when photons from the first generations of stars and quasars ionized the universe (Bremer, Stanway, Davies, Squitieri).