Christopher Schurz

Master Student

Field of Interests

I am mainly interested in the morphology and structure of galaxies and how their evolution is affected by their environment. Ever since Dressler (1980) we know that the morphological type mix of galaxies depends on the environment in which they are located. Early-type galaxies (ellipticals and S0s) are dominant in high density regions, while spirals are more frequent in the low-density field. Together with the observed decrease of the fraction of cluster S0 galaxies towards higher redshifts, this suggests that cluster-specific interaction processes might be drivers of morphological transformations between galaxy types.

For my master thesis I will analyze galaxies in the Abell 901/902 cluster system, using multi-band photometry and imaging from the STAGES survey, combined with VLT/VIMOS spectra, to further explore the evolution of galaxies in the cluster environment. In particular, I will use morphological descriptors like CAS, Gini and M20 to investigate a probable transformation of field spirals that fall into the cluster’s gravitational potential, into cluster S0 galaxies. We here are especially interested in red spirals, which might be an intermediate stage in the transformation scenario.