IAU Symposia

IAUS 311: Galaxies Masses as Constraints of Formation Models

Start date/time

July 21, 2014

End date/time

July 25, 2014


United Kingdom


Michele Cappellari

Event website


Coordinating Division

Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science, Division G Stars and Stellar Physics, Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe, Division J Galaxies and Cosmology

Chair of SOC: Michele Cappellari (University of Oxford)


  1. Local Universe:
    • Galaxies mass modelling: gas poor, gas rich, large radii
    • Mass estimates from stellar population
    • Variation of the stellar IMF
    • Unifying galaxy scaling relations
  2. High redshift galaxies:
    • Evolution of mass/luminosity functions, scaling relations, morphology/population
    • Connection between environment, large scale structure and evolution
    • Modelling galaxy evolution: mass, population, kinematics
  3. Enabling new and future instrumentation:
    • Multi-objects spectrographs (e.g. MOSFIRE, KMOS, JWST)
    • Multi-objects integral-field surveys (SAMI, MaNGA)
    • Future large facilities (ALMA, E-ELT, TMT, SKA)


In the era of precision cosmology we think we can accurately predict the distribution of dark matter in the Universe. However the effect of baryonic physics is still largely unknown so that our understanding of galaxy formation must be driven by observations. A key advance in recent years has been the ability to move from studies of the luminosity evolution of galaxies, to the determinations of their stellar or total masses and their dynamics, using stellar population, stellar or gaseous dynamical models, weak or strong lensing. Contrary to the light distribution alone, the distribution of the luminous and dark matter in galaxies can be robustly compared to galaxy formation models.

Nearby studies are now moving from the modelling of the mass distribution of individual objects to large surveys with integral-field spectroscopy, strong or weak gravitational lensing, planetary-nebulae, gas kinematics, and multi-wavelength studies, to constrain masses from the stellar population. These analyses are starting to be extended to larger redshift using multi wavelength observations, weak gravitational lensing and deep observations of the stellar and gas kinematics made possible by multi-objects spectroscopic facilities.

New instrumentations are on the horizon, optimized to near-infrared wavelength to better trace the visual spectra of distant galaxies and with massive multi-objects capabilities, to allow larger samples to be obtained in feasible exposure times. In the not too distant future large 30-40-m class telescope promise to extend our abilities to study galaxy masses and kinematics of nearby galaxies up to redshift z~2 and beyond, where most of the galaxy assembly has taken place.

The meeting aims at putting together galaxy evolution theorists, observers and instrumentation specialists. The goal is to learn what key observables can be robustly reproduced by the models, how the instrumentation can be used and should be optimized for galaxy evolution studies, and what future observations would be most useful to constrain the models.


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