Research project

Large scale structure & Galaxy Clusters

Observations of large-scale structure provide a powerful probe of cosmology. These structures are predominantly made up of dark matter and together with galaxies create the cosmic web. We can gain insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy through the studies of large-scale structure and its evolution. We can map and probe large-scale structure using weak gravitational lensing, or through proxies, such as the galaxy distribution. The large-scale structure of the galaxy distribution is also a probe of galaxy formation.

Our research at the E.A. Milne Centre involves modelling and analysing data from current cosmological surveys, such as GAMA and HETDEX as well as upcoming surveys, such as Euclid, Rubin observatory LSST and SKA. We also study simulations of large-scale structure.

Embedded within the large-scale structure of the Universe are galaxy clusters. Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the Universe, reaching sizes of 10 million light years. They sit at the knots of the cosmic web. They contain hundreds or thousands of galaxies, which is the fact that gave them their name. Galaxy clusters are still growing, which makes them sites where we can observe ongoing cosmic structure formation. Furthermore, they are unique cosmic plasma laboratories because they are filled with the 10 million Kelvin hot intra-cluster medium. This plasma constitutes the bulk of the “normal” matter in clusters.

At the E.A. Milne Centre, we study the evolution of galaxy clusters themselves and the evolution of galaxies in them by combining simulations and observations.