The void galaxy survey: a study of the loneliest galaxies in the universe

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According to the current picture of the universe, galaxies are not distributed randomly but rather form a weblike spatial pattern. Most galaxies agglomerate in filaments and in the deep gravitational potential wells at cluster nodes. However, most of the volume of the Universe consists of vast underdense regions, cosmic voids. Inside the voids reside a population of lonely galaxies, the void galaxies. These galaxies may retain important clues on the effects of environment on galaxy formation and evolution. In this thesis we investigated the physical properties of 60 void galaxies in a multiwavelength survey of galaxies identified in the interior of voids. The aim of this PhD thesis, in the context of the Void Galaxy Survey, was to identify the differences between the void galaxies and those living in relatively higher density environments.

We found that our sample consists of mostly late-type galaxies that are smaller in size compared to galaxies of similar morphologies in high-densities. Although they have a high rate of star formation, their star formation properties are not systematically different from their peers in higher density environments.

We also found interesting configurations. One of these is a system of three interacting galaxies, which is a manifestation of the formation of tenuous filamentary infrastructure in voids as a result of the hierarchical nature of the buildup of structure. Evolution in voids is also slower, for which we found an indication in that the small blue void galaxies in our sample seem to be evolving towards dwarf ellipticals.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • van de Weijgaert, Marinus, Supervisor
  • van der Hulst, Thijs, Supervisor
  • van Gorkom, Jacqueline, Supervisor
Award date26-Sep-2014
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7247-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7248-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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