Michael Cowley

Michael Cowley
Queensland University of Technology | QUT · School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

PhD in Astrophysics

About

42
Publications
4,210
Reads
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1,344
Citations
Introduction
I am an educator and astrophysicist at the Queensland University of Technology. My research interests are extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, including galaxy formation and evolution, star-formation and active galactic nuclei (AGN), the interaction of galaxies with their environment, multi-wavelength photometry, infrared spectroscopy, and spectral energy distribution modelling.
Additional affiliations
October 2015 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Research Officer
Description
  • Collaborate with the Department of Education to create units and lesson plans that better prepare teacher candidates for the challenges associated with teaching science in classroom settings.
January 2015 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Sessional Academic
Description
  • Prepare and conduct lectures, supervise practicals, assess assignments and grade student performance in various astronomy units (introductory astronomy and advanced astronomy).
February 2013 - December 2013
Queensland University of Technology
Position
  • Sessional Academic
Description
  • Prepare and conduct lectures, tutorials and practicals, assess assignments and grade student performance in various science and engineering units.

Publications

Publications (42)
Article
Following the discovery of SAGE0536AGN (z ∼ 0.14), with the strongest 10-μm silicate emission ever observed for an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN), we discovered SAGE0534AGN (z ∼ 1.01), a similar AGN but with less extreme silicate emission. Both were originally mistaken as evolved stars in the Magellanic Clouds. Lack of far-infrared emission, and the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Following the discovery of SAGE0536AGN ($z \sim$ 0.14), with the strongest 10-$\mu$m silicate emission ever observed for an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN), we discovered SAGE0534AGN ($z \sim$ 1.01), a similar AGN but with less extreme silicate emission. Both were originally mistaken as evolved stars in the Magellanic Clouds. Lack of far-infrared emi...
Preprint
To understand how strong emission line galaxies (ELGs) contribute to the overall growth of galaxies and star formation history of the universe, we target Strong ELGs (SELGs) from the ZFOURGE imaging survey that have blended (Hb+[OIII]) rest-frame equivalent widths of >230A and 2.5<zphot<4.0. Using Keck/MOSFIRE, we measure 49 redshifts for galaxies...
Preprint
Full-text available
We use K-band spectroscopic data from the Multi-Object Spectroscopic Emission Line (MOSEL) survey to analyze the kinematic properties of galaxies at z>3. Our sample consists of 34 galaxies at 3.0<zspec<3.8 between 9.0<log(M_star)<11.0. We find that galaxies with log(M_star) > 10.2 at z > 3 have 56 +/- 21 km/s lower integrated velocity dispersion co...
Preprint
The ionizing photon production efficiency, $\xi_{ion}$, is a critical parameter that provides a number of physical constraints to the nature of the early Universe, including the contribution of galaxies to the timely completion of the reionization of the Universe. Here we use KECK/MOSFIRE and ZFOURGE multi-band photometric data to explore the $\xi_...
Poster
Full-text available
Tight correlations between BHAR and SFR are well documented with both models and observations producing a nearly flat BHAR/SFR ratio across cosmic time. This flat correlation is often explained by a simple scenario where a joint fuelling process regulates both supermassive black hole growth and star-formation. As shown in the figure above, we find...
Article
We investigate the properties of galaxies as they shut off star formation over the 4 billion years surrounding peak cosmic star formation. To do this, we categorize ∼7000 galaxies from 1 < z < 4 into 90 groups based on the shape of their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and build composite SEDs with R ∼ 50 resolution. These composite SEDs show...
Preprint
We investigate the properties of galaxies as they shut off star formation over the 4 billion years surrounding peak cosmic star formation. To do this we categorize $\sim7000$ galaxies from $1<z<4$ into $90$ groups based on the shape of their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and build composite SEDs with $R\sim 50$ resolution. These composite SE...
Article
Full-text available
We perform a kinematic and morphological analysis of 44 star-forming galaxies at $z\sim2$ in the COSMOS legacy field using near-infrared spectroscopy from Keck/MOSFIRE and F160W imaging from CANDELS/3D-HST as part of the ZFIRE survey. Our sample consists of cluster and field galaxies from $2.0 < z < 2.5$ with K band multi-object slit spectroscopic...
Article
We investigate the relationship between the black hole accretion rate (BHAR) and star-formation rate (SFR) for Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31)-mass progenitors from z = 0.2 - 2.5. We source galaxies from the Ks-band selected ZFOURGE survey, which includes multi-wavelenth data spanning 0.3 - 160um. We use decomposition software to split the obser...
Article
Full-text available
Taipan is a multi-object spectroscopic galaxy survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2pi steradians over the southern sky, and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z<0.4. Taipan will use the newly-refurbished 1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative...
Article
Full-text available
We use the ZFIRE survey (http://zfire.swinburne.edu.au) to investigate the high mass slope of the initial mass function (IMF) for a mass-complete (log10(M$_*$/M$_\odot$)~9.3) sample of 102 star-forming galaxies at z~2 using their H{\alpha} equivalent widths (H{\alpha}-EW) and rest-frame optical colours. We compare dust-corrected H{\alpha}-EW distri...
Article
Using deep multi-wavelength photometry of galaxies from ZFOURGE, we group galaxies at $2.5<z<4.0$ by the shape of their spectral energy distributions (SEDs). We identify a population of galaxies with excess emission in the $K_s$-band, which corresponds to [OIII]+H$\beta$ emission at $2.95<z<3.65$. This population includes 78% of the bluest galaxies...
Article
The Doppler effect is a shift in the frequency of waves emitted from an object moving relative to the observer. By observing and analysing the Doppler shift in electromagnetic waves from astronomical objects, astronomers gain greater insight into the structure and operation of our universe. In this paper, a simple technique is described for teachin...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes a novel activity to model the dynamics of a Jupiter-mass, trans-Neptunian planet of a highly eccentric orbit. Despite a history rooted in modern astronomy, 'Planet X', a hypothesised hidden planet lurking in our outer Solar System, has often been touted by conspiracy theorists as the cause of past mass extinction events on Eart...
Article
Full-text available
Using observations made with MOSFIRE on Keck I as part of the ZFIRE survey, we present the stellar mass Tully-Fisher relation at 2.0 < z < 2.5. The sample was drawn from a stellar mass limited, Ks-band selected catalog from ZFOURGE over the CANDELS area in the COSMOS field. We model the shear of the Halpha emission line to derive rotational velocit...
Article
For the first time, we present the size evolution of a mass-complete (log(M*/Msol)>10) sample of star-forming galaxies over redshifts z=1-7, selected from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE). Observed H-band sizes are measured from the Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/F...
Article
Full-text available
We compare galaxy scaling relations as a function of environment at $z\sim2$ with our ZFIRE survey where we have measured H$\alpha$ fluxes for 90 star-forming galaxies selected from a mass-limited [$\log(M_{\star}/M_{\odot})>9$] sample based on ZFOURGE. The cluster galaxies (37) are part of a confirmed system at z=2.095 and the field galaxies (53)...
Article
The FourStar galaxy evolution survey (ZFOURGE) is a 45 night legacy program with the FourStar near-infrared camera on Magellan and one of the most sensitive surveys to date. ZFOURGE covers a total of $400\ \mathrm{arcmin}^2$ in cosmic fields CDFS, COSMOS and UDS, overlapping CANDELS. We present photometric catalogs comprising $>70,000$ galaxies, se...
Article
We investigate the star formation rate (SFR) dependence on the stellar mass and gas-phase metallicity relation at z=2 with MOSFIRE/Keck as part of the ZFIRE survey. We have identified 117 galaxies (1.98 < z < 2.56), with $8.9\leq$log(M/M$_{\odot}$)$\leq11.0$, for which we can measure gas-phase metallicities. For the first time, we show discernible...
Article
Full-text available
We present an overview and the first data release of ZFIRE, a spectroscopic redshift survey of star-forming galaxies that utilizes the MOSFIRE instrument on Keck-I to study galaxy properties in rich environments at $1.5<z<2.5$. ZFIRE measures accurate spectroscopic redshifts and basic galaxy properties derived from multiple emission lines. The gala...
Article
We perform a kinematic analysis of galaxies at $z\sim2$ in the COSMOS legacy field using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy from Keck/MOSFIRE as part of the ZFIRE survey. Our sample consists of 75 Ks-band selected star-forming galaxies from the ZFOURGE survey with stellar masses ranging from log(M$_{\star}$/M$_{\odot}$)$=9.0-11.0$, 28 of which are me...
Article
The most prodigious starburst galaxies are absent in massive galaxy clusters today, but their connection with large scale environments is less clear at $z\gtrsim2$. We present a search of large scale structure around a galaxy cluster core at $z=2.095$ using a set of spectroscopically confirmed galaxies. We find that both color-selected star-forming...
Article
We investigate the dependance of galaxy sizes and star-formation rates (SFRs) on environment using a mass-limited sample of quiescent and star-forming galaxies with M>10^9.5 at z=0.92 selected from the NMBS survey. Using the GEEC2 spectroscopic cluster catalog and the accurate photometric redshifts from NMBS, we select quiescent and star-forming cl...
Article
We build a set of composite galaxy spectral energy distributions (SEDs) by de-redshifting and scaling multi-wavelength photometry from galaxies in the ZFOURGE survey, covering the CDFS, COSMOS, and UDS fields. From a sample of ∼4000 Ks-band selected galaxies, we define 38 composite galaxy SEDs that yield continuous low-resolution spectra (R ∼ 45) o...
Article
We investigate active galactic nuclei (AGN) candidates within the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE) to determine the impact they have on star formation in their host galaxies. We first identify a population of radio, X-ray, and infrared-selected AGN by cross-matching the deep Ks-band imaging of ZFOURGE with overlapping multiwavelength data...
Article
Full-text available
An experiment is described that enables students to understand the properties of atmospheric extinction due to Rayleigh scattering. The experiment requires the use of red, green and blue lasers attached to a travelling microscope or similar device. The laser beams are passed through an artificial atmosphere, made from milky water, at varying depths...
Article
Full-text available
We measure the evolution of the quiescent fraction and quenching efficiency of satellites around star-forming and quiescent central galaxies with stellar mass $\log(M_{\mathrm{cen}}/M_{\odot})>10.5$ at $0.3<z<2.5$. We combine imaging from three deep near-infrared-selected surveys (ZFOURGE/CANDELS, UDS, and UltraVISTA), which allows us to select a s...
Article
Full-text available
In order to reproduce the high-mass end of the galaxy mass-distribution, some process must be responsible for the suppression of star-formation in the most massive of galaxies. Commonly Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are invoked to fulfil this role, but the exact means by which they do so is still the topic of much debate, with studies finding eviden...
Article
This article describes a parallax experiment performed by undergraduate physics students at Queensland University of Technology. The experiment is analogous to the parallax method used in astronomy to measure distances to the local stars. The result of one of these experiments is presented in this paper. A target was photographed using a digital ca...
Article
Full-text available
We explore star-formation histories (SFHs) of galaxies based on the evolution of the star-formation rate stellar mass relation (SFR-M*). Using data from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE) in combination with far-IR imaging from the Spitzer and Herschel observatories we measure the SFR-M* relation at 0.5 < z < 4. Similar to recent works...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the ISM properties of 13 star-forming galaxies within the z~2 COSMOS cluster. We show that the cluster members have [NII]/Ha and [OIII]/Hb emission-line ratios similar to z~2 field galaxies, yet systematically different emission-line ratios (by ~0.17 dex) from the majority of local star-forming galaxies. We find no statistically sign...
Article
Full-text available
We study the rest-frame ultra-violet sizes of massive (~0.8 x 10^11 M_Sun) galaxies at 3.4<z<4.2, selected from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE), by fitting single Sersic profiles to HST/WFC3/F160W images from the Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS). Massive quiescent galaxies are very compact, wit...
Article
Full-text available
There is ongoing debate regarding the extent that environment affects galaxy size growth beyond z>1. To investigate the differences in star-forming and quiescent galaxy properties as a function of environment at z=2.1, we create a mass-complete sample of 59 cluster galaxies Spitler et al. (2012) and 478 field galaxies with log(M)>9 using photometri...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the environmental dependence of the mass-metallicity relation at z=2 with MOSFIRE/Keck as part of the ZFIRE survey. Here, we present the chemical abundance of a Virgo-like progenitor at z=2.095 that has an established red sequence. We identified 43 cluster ($ =2.095\pm0.004$) and 74 field galaxies ($ =2.195\pm0.083$) for which we can...
Article
Full-text available
Galaxies with stellar masses near M* contain the majority of stellar mass in the universe, and are therefore of special interest in the study of galaxy evolution. The Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) have present-day stellar masses near M*, at 5 × 1010M ☉ (defined here to be MW-mass) and 1011M ☉ (defined to be M31-mass). We study the typical prog...
Article
Full-text available
We study the statistical distribution of satellites around star-forming and quiescent central galaxies at 1<z<3 using imaging from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE) and the Cosmic Assembly Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS). The deep near-IR data select satellites down to $\log(M/M_\odot)>9$ at z<3. The radial satellite...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes a simple activity for plotting and characterizing the light curve from an exoplanet transit event by way of differential photometry analysis. Using free digital imaging software, participants analyse a series of telescope images with the goal of calculating various exoplanet parameters, including its size, orbital radius and ha...
Conference Paper
his paper looks at the accuracy of using the built-in camera of smart phones and free software as an economical way to quantify and analyse light exposure by producing luminance maps from High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. HDR images were captured with an Apple iPhone 4S to capture a wide variation of luminance within an indoor and outdoor scene. The...

Projects

Project (1)