The Messenger

The INvestigate Stellar Population In RElics (INSPIRE) Project — Scientific Goals and Survey Design

Authors
  • Spiniello, Chiara [Sub-Department of Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, UK; INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, Naples, Italy]
  • Tortora, Crescenzo [INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, Naples, Italy]
  • D’Ago, Giuseppe [Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile]
  • Napolitano, Nicola R. [INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, Naples, Italy; School for Physics and Astronomy, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China]
  • The INSPIRE Team

Abstract

Relics are the ancient fossils of the early Universe. They are ultra-compact and massive galaxies that formed only a few (1–2) billion years after the Big Bang, in a short and intense burst of star formation, and then evolved passively and undisturbed until the present day, completely missing the accretion phase predicted for the assembly of local giant early-type galaxies. As such, they represent a unique opportunity to put precise constraints on the first phase of structure formation in the Universe. Since the number of relics predicted at each redshift depends heavily on the mechanisms responsible for the accretion and growth of massive galaxies, obtaining number counts at 0 < z < 0.5 is a very powerful way to validate and disentangle different possible physical scenarios driving their formation and size-evolution. INvestigating Stellar Population In RElics (INSPIRE) is an ongoing project based on an approved ESO Large Programme, targeting 52 relic candidates with the X-shooter spectrograph at ESO’s Very Large Telescope with the aim of building the first statistically large catalogue of relics at 0.1 < z < 0.5.


Dates
Created: 2021-09-01/2021-09-30
Length
4 pages

Cite this article:

C. Spiniello, C. Tortora, G. D’Ago, N. Napolitano, The INSPIRE Team; The INvestigate Stellar Population In RElics (INSPIRE) Project — Scientific Goals and Survey Design. The Messenger 184 (September 2021): 26–29. https://doi.org/10.18727/0722-6691/5241