Mapping dark matter in galaxy clusters to constrain dark energy
In the last years, observations have shown that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, despite all the massive galaxies in it attracting each other gravitationally. The reason for this acceleration is unknown; it may be related to a missing link in fundamental physics (the "problem" of Einstein's cosmological constant). Currently, the best way to study the nature of this "dark energy" component is through astronomical observations. Large efforts are being undertaken presently across many countries for this study. One method uses the evolution with time of the most massive clearly defined structures in the Universe: galaxy clusters.
With the ultimate goal of helping constrain this evolution, the master's thesis work would concentrate on reduction and analysis of X-ray, optical, or radio data of nearby or distant galaxy clusters. Data available to the research group include about more than 100 XMM-Newton, Chandra, and Suzaku X-ray satellite observations as well as weak lensing observations taken at the 6.5m MMT telescope with the 36-CCD Megacam camera and the Magellan telescope as well as with the Wide Field Imager at the ESO/MPG 2.2m telescope (travel to Mount Hopkins in Arizona or Cerro Manqui or La Silla in Chile may also be required for obtaining observations for additional clusters) and other optical ground and space based telescopes.
The research group is also involved in the eROSITA satellite mission, to be launched end of 2017. eROSITA will lead X-ray cluster survey science world-wide for many years to come. The exact Master thesis topic can be adjusted to best fit the interests of the student. Just stop by (office 2.017, Thomas Reiprich) and we can discuss.