Our investigation of how galaxies change with time was previously limited to direct study of the stars and gas that constitute the galaxy. It is now understood that the region of space around a galaxy, the circumgalactic medium, plays an important role in both fueling star formation inside a galaxy and absorbing the escaping energy produced by that star formation.
In order to enable further study of the circumgalactic medium in galaxies, the Swedish Research Council has awarded a Consolidator Grant to Dr. Matthew Hayes, lecturer in the Stockholm University Astronomy department. Consolidator grants are designed to give junior researchers the opportunity to expand and broaden their research activities. The award provides two million crowns per year for a period of six years. Dr. Hayes will use the money to hire postdoctoral researchers and graduate students.
One of the galaxies that will be studied is shown below in optical light, ultraviolet light, and light from highly ionized oxgen atoms. The project relies on use of the Hubble Space Telescope to detect OVI (five times ionized oxygen) in emission from the circumgalactic medium surrounding star forming galaxies. The technique is presented in this recent paper (arXiv version).