Felipe Ardila

Mentor: Dr. Anthony Gonzalez
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Lifelong passion and interest, in astronomy and science in general."


Astronomy and Physics



Research Interests

  • Cosmology
  • Galaxy evolution
  • Extragalactic astronomy

Academic Awards

  • Anderson Scholar
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
  • Honors Program
  • Golden


  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Society
  • Society of Physics Students
  • TED Club


  • Campus Teaching Observatory
  • Starry Night
  • Soccer Coach

Hobbies and Interests

  • Guitar
  • Tennis
  • Scuba diving
  • Travel

Research Description

Detecting galaxy clusters with EUCLID color cuts
The proposed project aims to test a color-cut galaxy cluster detection method based on the capabilities of the future Euclid space telescope. Euclid has a foreseen launch date in 2020, and is being developed to understand the origin of the accelerated expansion of the universe. It will investigate the nature of dark energy, dark matter, and gravity by tracking different cosmological probes and their change over cosmic history. Photometry will be derived from three Euclid NIR bands (Y, J, H in the range 0.92-2.0 μm) and will be complemented by ground-based photometry in visible bands (Laueijs, R. et al. 2011). One of the most powerful probes used for cosmological measurements are galaxy clusters because their extreme mass (M > 1014 M⊙) and late-time growth continuing into the present epoch. Large area surveys, such as those possible with Euclid, provide the opportunity to identify sizeable samples of these very massive objects.
This project aims to determine the extent and quality of the sample of galaxy clusters that could be discovered by Euclid in the near future. It will utilize mock Euclid data and will apply the MaDCoWS galaxy cluster search method (Gettings et al. 2012) to detect clusters. The method is based on the approach of Papovich (2008) which takes advantage of the fact that galaxy colors observed in the 3 − 5 μm regime become monotonically-redder between 0.75 ≲ z ≲ 1.75 and are unaffected by star formation history. We can use this information to perform cuts in our sample of objects based on their color and effectively remove the bulk of sources at lower redshifts. The remaining sources will be placed on a two-dimensional density map and smoothed to enhance the most structures at a particular scale, yet to be determined. From overdensity analyses we can pick out certain structures and determine some to be clusters. We can then compare these objects to those defined as galaxy clusters in the original mock data.
This project will be a significant step in understanding the true capabilities of Euclid. It will be essential in establishing the sort of results we can expect from the mission and the scope of possible conclusions that could be drawn. It will tell us what type of cosmological information we should be able to draw from galaxy clusters using this telescope.