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Initiativkolleg I033-N - The Cosmic Matter Circuit

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Doctoral Position in the International Graduate School on THE COSMIC MATTER CIRCUIT at the Institute of Astronomy. University of Vienna
Job-Announcement
galaxy stripping

Abstract

In the Universe stars are formed from dense extremely cool gas, scoop their energy from the nuclear fusion of lighter to heavier elements, and finish their lives with the return of the major fraction of their matter to interstellar space. Stars do not only release gas (and dust) by means of various processes during different evolutionary stages but also dominate the energy budget of the interstellar medium and galaxies. They also produce the cosmic chemical enrichment. This small-scale stellar matter cycle of star formation and local mass return is extended to an energetic large-scale dynamics of the interstellar gas. By this, turbulence is impressed to the gas that can be driven over large distances, so e.g. out of the galactic gas disk to form a hot gaseous halo. Cooling and fall-back of this gas closes the galactic matter cycle. Already during the formation of a galactic gas disk in the early evolutionary epoch large-scale gas flows must have occurred from the early star-forming regions in the center and in the halo throughout the whole galaxy. Moreover, gas in the outermost galactic regions can become unbound from a galaxy by means of tidal or ram-pressure stripping in interaction with the surroundings. If it is removed, it feeds the intergalactic matter, but also enriches it with heavy elements. Intergalactic gas, on the other hand, is gravitationally attracted by galaxies and accreted by them. This global matter cycle operates on cosmological timescales and has substantial influences on the evolution of the Universe, in particular, on structure formation and evolution of galaxies, like e.g. their gas reservoirs, their star formation, their chemistry, their baryonic masses and angular momentum.

The perceptible relevance of the various processes of matter cycles that can be studied in the local Universe in detail for understanding the evolution of the Universe from its early stages of structure formation has promoted this wide research field to become one of the big challenges in modern Astrophysics.

At the Vienna Institute of Astronomy a significant fraction of research is dedicated to various fields of the Cosmic Matter Circuit ranging from stellar mass loss, the dynamics and energetic of the gas in galaxies across the matter exchange of galaxies with their surrounding gas to galaxy-galaxy interactions. In their specific research topics all members of the Initiative Kolleg (IK) have already reached an excellent international reputation. The IK is therefore aimed as the ideal opportunity to strengthen running collaborations between the different research fields and to install new ones. In particular, due to the lack of own explorations of cosmological matter cycles, the collaboration with foreign experts in that field is planned and highly welcome. Due to this strategy the IK will provide a unique synergy to the Viennese and, in general, the entire Austrian Astronomy. The members of this IK will all contribute to the teaching, training and research of the students.

© IK CMC Team 2007