Mapping the Light and Dark Universe

Oct 22, 2020 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Sarah Tuttle (University of Washington) via zoom

Zoom Recording

What does the universe look like? Of course, that question contains as many questions as you can imagine (and exponentially more answers than that.) What objects are we asking about? What scale? What time? What bandpass? Ask any astrophysicist and eventually they will settle on perhaps their favorite objects or bandpass, their favorite epoch to illuminate what is difficult to see. Here I share three projects in progress in my group mapping some of my favorite epochs, redshifts, and bandpasses. The Hobby Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is built to constrain dark energy at intermediate redshifts (1.9 < z < 4), and is now taking data and in its second data release. I built more spectrographs than a human should and am excited to see so many photons pouring off the mountain. The dark energy constraint isn't yet in the books, but the truth is I was always more excited about the Lyman alpha emitters we were using as measurement tools. I'll discuss both the hardware project of bringing HETDEX online and some of the early work being done to understand the untargeted catalog of sources being generated. SDSS-V is the fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. My lab is working on fiber optic characterization and supporting the handoff between the plugged plates that have been the mainstay of the survey for several iterations and the new focal plane survey populated with robotic positioners. I'll share project status and projections for our three mapper projects (mapping from the very local to the much more distant). Lastly, I will share an idea for a far ultraviolet wide field mapper called "Maratus". We're bringing together new simulations with some tried and true hardware (and a few new bits) too use a cubesat to explore the physical distribution of the circumgalactic medium. We plan to bring together the many pieces of past observation work to explore the large scale distribution of the CGM at low redshift (z ~ 0.3), and identify the dominant processes that mediate the flow of gas between galaxies and the IGM. Come for the wrenches, stay for the photons, and argue about the cosmology at the end. Because we still don't know what the universe looks like (except for the parts that we do).