Observational Astronomy and Cosmology

Research Areas

Star Formation & The ISM

Stars are formed in dense cores of cold gas and they affect their surrounding gas with their radiation and winds produced during their growth and evolution. This way, the interstellar medium (ISM) is fed with heavy elements, high-energy particles, and magnetic fields. Particularly massive stars are very efficient in feeding the ISM, shaping structures such as outflows & bubbles, and ultimately in the evolution of their host galaxies. In spite of their importance, massive stars and their formation process are still awaiting much deeper and wider observations to be understood. The ISM itself, its constituents and physical states, its role in regulating the star formation and galaxy evolution are among the persisting questions in modern astronomy. The SoA leads and/or participates in several international projects in related topics.

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Galaxy Systems and Large Scale Structures

Galaxies, the building blocks of the Universe, are often found in associations, such as galaxy groups and clusters. These two environments play a key role in the evolution of galaxies through quenching of star formation, morphological changes and refuelling of active galactic nuclei. The Inter-galactic gas, heated to the X-ray emitting temperature as a result of the gravitational collapse of the structures, offers a unique probe for the mysterious dark matter at large scales. Understanding the cooling and the feedback in the ecosystem of galaxies, stars, AGNs and IGM are essential to forming a more reliable picture of the structures in the local universe and beyond. We are one of the leading research groups with special focus on the dynamically evolved galaxy groups, e.g. fossil groups, through multi-wavelength observations of galaxy groups using ground and space observing facilities complemented with semi-analytic and hydrodynamic simulations.

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Formation and Evolution of Nearby Galaxies

The evolution of galaxies is driven by the birth and death of stars. The evolved stars are excellent tracers, not just of the feedback processes, but also of the underlying populations, that were formed from millions to billions of years prior to their appearance. The key challenge is to marry our understanding of these key components into coherent description of entire galaxies. We could determine how mass loss and dust production from the latest, coolest phases of stellar evolution depends on the star's luminosity (hence birth mass) and metal content ...

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Square Kilometer Array (SKA)

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometer (one million square meters) of collecting area. About thousands of dishes and up to a million low frequency antennas of the SKA will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and speed. The SKA will largely exceed the image resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope, while mapping huge areas of the sky with unprecedented sensitivity.

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Astronomical Instrumentation

IPM hosts Iranian National Observatory Project which involves design and construction of the 3.4m optical telescope, site development and infrastructure. We develop all site testing instruments and facilities together with the instrumentation for the 3.4m telescope.

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