Special Session SS31  3 April 2018

Unveiling the low surface brightness Universe: the new era of deep-wide surveys

Aims and scope

The advent of extra-galactic surveys that are both deep and wide is poised to revolutionise the study of galaxy evolution, by revealing aspects of galaxies and their environments that have been invisible in past datasets. These surveys are revealing low-surface-brightness (LSB) tidal features which encode galaxy merger histories, enabling studies of faint galaxy outskirts and the circum-galactic and intra-cluster media, and opening up the realm of dwarf galaxies. The growing LSB literature, from existing datasets like the Stripe 82, KIDS, NGVS, MATLAS and CFIS is now being extended using new, wider surveys like DES, DECaLS and the Hyper Suprime Cam Survey. Towards the end of the decade, the field is poised for yet another revolution, via the unprecedented combination of depth and area offered by next-generation instruments like EUCLID and LSST.

Finally, against this backdrop of observational progress, a significant theoretical advance is the advent of high-resolution hydro-dynamical simulations in cosmological volumes, which offer detailed survey-scale predictions that can be compared with such surveys. The observational and theoretical studies from these datasets promise a transformative impact on our understanding of galaxy formation, including a better comprehension of how mergers shape galaxy evolution, a detailed understanding of the assembly of galaxies and galaxy clusters and new insights into the nature of dark matter. EWASS 2018 provides a timely opportunity to bring the European and wider community together to review progress from deep surveys and prepare the ground for the exploitation of future datasets. This Symposium will (a) present results from studies that are exploiting current deep-wide surveys (b) discuss emerging techniques and methodologies for the exploitation of such surveys and (c) lay the groundwork for the exploitation of future surveys like LSST and EUCLID, in which the European community has a large stake.


  • Low-surface-brightness tidal features as signposts of recent interactions
  • Intracluster light and its role in understanding cluster evolution
  • The circumgalactic medium
  • Galactic cirrus
  • Dwarf and ultra-diffuse galaxies
  • Automated image-analysis techniques (e.g. machine learning)
  • Confrontation of deep survey datasets with theoretical models
  • Future instrumentation and key post-2018 goals and challenges

Invited speakers

Scientific organisers

  • Sugata Kaviraj (Hertfordshire, UK)
  • Johan Knapen (IAC, Spain)
  • Roger Davies (Oxford, UK)
  • Francoise Combes (Observatoire de Paris, France)
  • Gabriella de Lucia (Trieste, Italy)
  • Pierre-Alain Duc (Strasbourg, France)
  • Chris Collins (LJMU, UK)
  • Claudia Lagos (ICRAR, Australia)
  • Denija Crnojevic (Texas Tech, USA)

Sugata Kaviraj (s.kaviraj @ herts.ac.uk)

Updated on Sat Sep 16 00:37:10 CEST 2017