CEA Astronomers to lead a new large programme on ESO's VLT

Members of the CEA's Intergalactic Matters and Galaxy Environments (IMAGE) group have been awarded a new European Southern Observatory (ESO) Large Programme. In partnership with international collaborators, IMAGE members will use the MUSE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to acquire the deepest spectroscopic observations (for up to 150 hours) ever collected in a field with multiple quasars. Building on a successful pilot programme that has revealed extended hydrogen Lyman-α emission near these quasars (red in the Figure showing an image reconstructed from our pilot MUSE data), the newly-awarded programme aims at acquiring a detailed view of the cosmic web that is expected to connect galaxy halos in the early universe. Thanks to the groundbreaking capabilities of MUSE, these data will also provide a wealth of information on the physics of gas near galaxies and in groups across 5 billion years of cosmic history, and will form one of the deepest spectroscopic surveys in blank fields.

Pilot MUSE data shows extended gas (Lyman-alpha) emission
Figure: Data from a pilot MUSE program shows, in red, extended hydrogen (from Lyman-α) emission near quasars.