Summary of Subaru’s Panoramic Galaxy Conference

April 1, 2008

Galaxies can now be observed through most of cosmic time. Using telescopes like Subaru, astronomers are beginning to trace directly the history of galaxy formation and evolution, and the development of the largescale structure in which these galaxies are embedded. In particular, recent systematic wide-field and deep observations with powerful telescopes (both ground-based and in space) allow scientists not only to discover new populations of galaxies from low to high redshifts but also to study their characteristics and statistical properties. These studies ultimately lead to a clearer understanding of galactic histories.

With the purpose of discussing recent cutting-edge studies of galaxies and integrating them into a “panoramic” view of galaxy formation and evolution, an assembly of astronomers from around the world gathered in Japan at the end of 2007. Sponsored by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and organized by Subaru, it was the first meeting of the Subaru International Conference Series. The University of Tokyo and the Foundation for Promotion of Astronomy in Japan provided financial support.

This international conference was entitled “Panoramic Views of Galaxy Formation and Evolution”, and occurred from December 11 to 15 at the Shonan Village Center in Hayama, Japan. As the title suggests, the meeting was dedicated to wide-field extragalactic astronomy, focusing in particular on panoramic views of galaxy formation and evolution explored by many recent surveys using various facilities and instruments. It is worth noting that Subaru has made significant contributions to this field of study. The conference included presentations of results from a wide variety of observational facilities such as the Spitzer Space Telescope, Keck Observatory, and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, and was an excellent opportunity for astronomers interested in galaxy evolution to present and discuss recent exciting results and on-going progress being made both observationally and theoretically. The major topics discussed during the conference, included:

  1. Quest for the highest redshift objects and the reionization history of the Universe;
  2. History of galaxy clustering and formation of large-scale structure in the Universe;
  3. Global histories of mass assembly and star formation in galaxies;
  4. Evolutionary link between different populations of galaxies at different redshifts;
  5. Mass dependence of the formation and evolution of galaxies;
  6. Black Hole - Galaxy coevolution;
  7. Environmental factors in the formation and evolution of galaxies;
  8. Statistical properties of galaxies at low and intermediate redshifts; and
  9. Future prospects for wide-field extra-galactic astronomy.

From observatories, universities, and other institutions world-wide, a total of 164 persons attended the meeting with 19 providing an Invited Talk, 46 giving an Oral Presentation, and 87 sharing information in Poster Sessions. The Director of Subaru, Dr. Masa Hayashi, reports that “the wide-field imaging capability was the one thing that everyone was admiring about Subaru in almost all of the presentations”. The Proceedings from the conference, highlighting the participants and summarizing the presentations, will be published in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series (ASPCS) some time in 2008.

Professor Kodaira (second from right) and
Professor Okamura (second from left)

During the conference, a special moment was taken to honor, Professor Keiichi Kodaira, Subaru's founder and director-general of NAOJ. In addition, attendees celebrated the 60th birthday of Professor Sadanori Okamura from the University of Tokyo, one of the principal investigators of Suprime-Cam, the optical wide-field camera at Subaru’s prime focus.

All in all the conference was a huge success with many participants enjoying the opportunity to exchange information and ideas, and everyone left the event looking forward to the second meeting of the Subaru International Conference Series. Dr. Hayashi stated that for the future “conference attendees look forward to understanding dark things in the universe (dark age, dark matter, dark energy, etc.) with Hypersuprime-Cam and other new state-of-the-art instruments as well as future larger telescopes”.

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