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  • Nearby Galaxies

    MUSE will make significant contributions to our understanding of nearby galaxies, making use of both the high-resolution mode, to resolve the complex structures of galaxy nuclei, measure black-hole masses, and perform crowded-field spectrophotometry in local objects; and also of the wide-field mode, allowing sub-kiloparsec scales to be accurately resolved at distances beyond 100 Mpc, whilst simultaneously providing a global view of entire systems: ideal for relating nuclear properties of galaxies to their outer parts, or accurately mapping multi-scale phenomena such as galaxy mergers. The large spectral domain of MUSE also makes it a uniquely versatile instrument, which will herald progress in a diverse range of science topics in the nearby universe, from stellar dynamics and population studies, to complex astrophysics and the properties of Active Galactic Nuclei.

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    In this selection of nearby early-type galaxies from the SAURON integral field spectrograph, the variety of stellar velocity fields (central row) and chemical composition (right row) contrast with the smooth and regular light distribution (left row)

    MUSE will allow quantification of some of the most fundamental processes of astronomy, which have so far eluded a proper understanding from currently available data. For example, probing the environment of black holes, as well as determining accurately their physical properties, will help explain the nature of these phenomena in the global context of galaxy formation. Connecting stellar dynamics and stellar populations directly with morphological structure will reveal the true fossil evidence contained in nearby galaxies. Mapping interacting galaxies on various scales will quantify the impact of merging on galaxy evolution. And detailed study of star-formation and galactic winds will shed new light on the question of feedback mechanisms in galaxy formation.

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    Nearby Galaxies Science Case
    Complete description of the Nearby Galaxies Science Case