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Herschel Extragalactic Legacy Project (HELP)
Start date: Dec 19, 2013, End date: Jan 1, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Understanding the evolution of galaxies across cosmic time is one of the great challenges of astrophysics. At the present day, galaxies found in different environments are very different from each other. To understand how this came to be we need to map a wide range of environments in the early Universe using telescopes that probe the different physical processes. Many astronomical facilities have thus been undertaking ambitious programmes to observe large areas of the distant Universe to study galaxy evolution and most of these complete in the next four years. Our project brings together key members of the various teams to combine these data homogenously. We will add new meta and physical data that is only possible once the data have been properly combined, but is essential to interpret them scientifically. ESA's Herschel mission has a unique place probing the obscured star-formation history (roughly 50 per cent of all star formation activity). The Herschel extra galactic surveys were a major goal of and accounted for around 10 per cent of the Herschel mission. Full exploitation of these data is complicated by the large beam size. The ancillary data and tools assembled by our project are necessary to fully capitalise on this fantastic resource and to enable astronomers in Europe (without Herschel experience) to exploit the data easily. As well as a census of galaxies with value-added data and tools to exploit the original telescope maps we will new characterisations of the environment: catalogues of galaxy clusters and 3D maps of the Universe. We will also provide a new framework an “extended halo model” to characterise the Universe and provide a benchmark for theorists. We thus intend to provide a vast resource for studying the distant Universe, similar to the SDSS for the nearby Universe as a lasting legacy of these major ground-based and space-based surveys.
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