The cosmic history of star formation in galaxies had a profound role, not just in the origin of celestial bodies but in the origin of the chemicals, like carbon, that are required for life.
The growth of mass concentrations in the universe under the action of gravity is now reasonably understood. However, our knowledge of more complex process of star formation is frustrated by enshrouding , smoke-like dust, obscuring the view of the conventional telescopes.
In this lecture Professor Oliver will demonstrate how infrared cameras on telescopes in space can detect the signals from this ‘smoke’ and probe the underlying star formation in distant galaxies.
He will show how maps of the sky with the European Space Agency mission, Herschel, have uncovered hundred s of thousands of distant galaxies.
Seen as they were 10 billion years ago, these galaxies were forming stars at hundreds or a thousand times the current rate of our own Galaxy, The Milky Way.
He will discuss what we have learnt from these studies about when and where stars were formed.