A Caltech Library Service

The faint intergalactic redshifted emission balloon and the cosmic web imager : two integral field spectrographs designed to study emission from the intergalactic medium


Matuszewski, Mateusz Konrad (2012) The faint intergalactic redshifted emission balloon and the cosmic web imager : two integral field spectrographs designed to study emission from the intergalactic medium. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


Gas in the intergalactic medium serves as the fuel for galaxies. It carries signatures of galactic feedback, including matter and energy outflows. Understanding the morphology, thermodynamics, chemistry, and kinematics of this gas is key to understanding galaxy formation and evolution. The principal method of characterizing this gas has been the study of the Lyman α forest and associated metal systems. While this work has yielded deep insights into the nature of intergalactic matter, the scarcity of suitable background sources does allow for a full three-dimensional picture. Numerical simulations and theoretical work indicate that this gas produces faint and extended recombinant line emission. Its signatures in Lyα(1216 Å), OVI(1033 Å), CIV(1550 Å) are expected to be the strongest. Recent advances in technology and fresh ideas in instrumentation are allowing access to the predicted surface brightness of intergalactic emission. The Faint Intergalactic Redshifted Emission Balloon (FIREBall) and the Cosmic Web Imager (CWI) are two integral field spectrographs probing different redshift regimes, which have been designed for the specific purpose of detecting and mapping emission from the intergalactic medium. FIREBall, operating in the balloon ultraviolet window around 2000 Å, probes the redshift range 0.3 < z < 1, while CWI, a ground-based optical instrument, studies the Universe at 2.5 < z < 7.0. Both instruments collected their first science data in mid-2009. This manuscript discusses the science case for the spectrographs, focuses on their designs, construction, testing, first light, target selection, observations, data reduction, and analysis. Initial results are presented and discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:FIREBall; CWI; intergalactic medium; circumgalactic medium; integral field spectroscopy; astronomical instrumentation
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Martin, Christopher R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Sargent, Wallace L. W. (chair)
  • Harrison, Fiona A.
  • Hirata, Christopher M.
  • Martin, Christopher R.
Defense Date:30 June 2011
Non-Caltech Author Email:matmat (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Projects:Faint Intergalactic Redshifted Emission Balloon, Cosmic Web Imager
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08012011-200227855
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6563
Deposited By: Mateusz Matuszewski
Deposited On:19 Oct 2011 18:52
Last Modified:25 Sep 2014 18:43

Thesis Files

PDF (Complete Thesis) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page