Campus, PAB 232
Line-intensity mapping—the observation of aggregate emission in various atomic and molecular spectral lines—is an emerging technique with tremendous potential to shed light on how the first stars and galaxies formed, as well as on subsequent early-universe star formation and galaxy formation. Future line-intensity surveys should allow for statistical inferences about galaxies and large-scale structure at high redshift over significant cosmological volumes, while sidestepping challenges of cost and incompleteness inherent in the cataloguing of individual sources as in a traditional galaxy survey.
The CO Mapping Array Pathfinder (COMAP) is one of the first single-dish line-intensity surveys to come online targeting intermediate-to-high redshift. In addition to having strong scientific motivation on its own—probing molecular gas near the peak of cosmic star-formation activity—the initial phase of COMAP will serve as a testing ground for experimental, analytic, and modelling techniques to be used in more ambitious future surveys. This talk will consider the basic ideas behind CO line-intensity mapping, discuss potential obstacles against and catalysts for COMAP science, and reflect on the programme’s present state and possible futures.