Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meet the CANDELS Team

The CANDELS collaboration is made up of over one hundred individuals with members from all over the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Spain, India, Israel, and Chile. These members work at a wide range of institutions, including large research Universities (e.g., University of California, Santa Cruz) and national facilities and telescopes (e.g., Space Telescope Science Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and NASA).

Not only does this group represent a wide range of countries and cultures, CANDELS is a coming together of members from several other collaborations working in each of the different deep fields in the survey. CANDELS has many senior researchers as members, but junior scientists, including many postdoctoral researchers (aka, postdocs) and graduate students, make a large contribution to the work. A number of undergraduate students are even working with CANDELS data, getting one of their first tastes of scientific research. Through this blog, you will meet a number of these scientists, as different people will write posts introducing themselves, explaining their research and describing their scientific results.

When CANDELS team members are not hard at work analyzing data and writing papers, you can often find them all over the globe, collecting data on observing runs, meeting with collaborators around the world, and presenting their results to the scientific community. Once a year, the CANDELS team gets together for a collaboration meeting, to discuss ongoing work and plan for the next year. Last year, our meeting was held at the University of Edinburgh's Royal Observatory (shown in the picture above). This September, we will be gathering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Stay tuned to hear more about the exciting exploits of this unique collaboration!

Monday, May 28, 2012

About the CANDELS blog

In late 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope began an ambitious program to map five carefully selected areas of the sky with its sensitive near-infrared camera, the Wide-Field Camera 3. The observations are important for addressing a wide variety of questions, from testing theories for the birth and evolution of galaxies, to refining our understanding of the geometry of the universe.

This is a research blog written by people involved in the project. We aim to share some of the excitement of working at the scientific frontier, using one of the greatest telescopes ever built. We will also share some of the trials and tribulations of making the project work, from the complications of planning and scheduling the observations to the challenges of trying to understand the data. Along the way, we may comment on trends in astronomy or other such topics.

CANDELS stands for the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey. It builds on the legacy of the Hubble Deep Field, as well as the wider-area surveys called GOODS, AEGIS, COSMOS, and UKIDSS UDS. The CANDELS observations are designed to search for galaxies within about a billion years of the big bang, study galaxies at cosmic high-noon about 3 billion years after the big bang - when star-formation and black hole growth were at their peak intensity - and discover distant supernovae for refining our understanding of cosmic acceleration. You can find more details, and download the CANDELS data, from the CANDELS website.

You can also use the Hubble Legacy Archive to view the CANDELS images, such as this one from the UDS.