On June 29 there was a productive working lunch with the beneficiaries of the International Program for Attracting Talent (PICATA) of Moncloa Campus.
The meeting was successful and allowed the participants to know the work done by its members.
This international conference has been held from 18th to 22nd of July at Durham (UK), twenty years after the celebration of another one in which attending researches (~ 70) voted the epochs at which they thought that the majority of the stellar content in galaxies was already formed. The possible answers were three: a) when the Universe is older than 3.5 Gyr, b) when the Universe has ~ 1.5 Gyr, and c) when the Universe is younger than 1 Gyr. The majoritarily voted epoch was when the Universe was only 1.5 Gyr old (the Universe is thought to be as old as 14 Gyrs now).
At the present, we know this is not true (the peak of star formation rate in the Universe is later, when the Universe was 3.5 Gyrs old). Moreover, current hierarchical scenarios of galaxy formation pose that the mean age of the stars in a galaxy might be much older than the real age of the galaxy itself, because many galaxies can have acquired most of its mass through galaxy mergers during the last 9 Gyr os cosmic history.
This new conference has gathered together nearly 400 researchers (including a GUAIX member, Carmen Eliche-Moral) to review progress towards understanding the physics of galaxy formation (poster available here).
The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (JENAM 2011) has been held this year in Saint Petersburg, from 4th to 8th of July. Our group has been present in Symposium S9 (Galaxy Evolution : the key for Galaxy Formation theories) and in Special Session SPS5 (Minor Merging as a Driver of Galaxy Evolution) of the conference. A GUAIX member (Carmen Eliche-Moral) has given a talk there on the formation of stellar inner components (such as inner rings and inner discs) in spiral galaxies through minor mergers (talk available here). Pictures below have been taken by Dr. Carlos López-SanJuan, now at Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), who also presented a talk there (talk also available here).