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In Lambda-CDM cosmology, the formation and subsequent evolution of galaxies takes place in gravitational potential wells in the dark matter distribution (DM halos). Gas accretion into halos and merging processes ultimately trigger star formation giving raise to galaxies. Although consensus has been reached concerning this big picture, the details of the baryonic physics behind galaxy formation in the centers of DM halos are aggressively debated. The triggering of star formation and the variables that set the star formation rate (SFR), the contribution from different types of feedback processes (stellar, AGN, SN) at regulating the gaseous budget, structure and kinematics of the ISM, and the role that major and minor mergers as well as secular evolution processes play at configuring the diverse morphologies observed in galaxies, are the main current areas of research. All these processes play a major role in determining how galaxies evolve throughout cosmic time, building up their stellar mass and shaping their present day structure.
VENGA Maps of NGC 2903
VENGA is an extragalactic IFU survey that will target large parts of the disks of 30 normal spiral galaxies. The sample spans a wide range in Hubble types, SFR, and morphologies. Galaxies showing classical and pseudobulges, as well as barred and unbarred objects are present in the sample. Emphasis is given to the availability of multiwavelength imaging. 93% of the sample has HST optical imaging, 77% has Spitzer IRAC and MIPS coverage, 60% has mid-IR IRS spectroscopy in their central parts, 97% has UV GALEX imaging, and a 63% has CO data from BIMA SONG or are part of the CARMA CO survey STINGS.
VENGA will allow a large number of researchers to conduct an extensive set of studies on star-formation, structure assembly, stellar populations, gas and stellar dynamics, chemical evolution, ISM structure, and galactic feedback, which will provide answers to many important questions in galaxy formation and evolution.
The VENGA Sample. Green boxes mark the 1.7'x1.7' field of view of the VIRUS-P spectrograph.