GOALS is the The Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey. LIRG stands for “luminous infrared galaxy”, so this is a second-level acronym, not uncommon in astronomy. GOALS has it’s origin in work done by the Caltech Infrared Army in the 80s, and most of the GOALS P.I.s trace their evolutionary tree back to this group (Sanders, Mazzarella, Armus, Surace, and Evans). Both my thesis and my Spitzer GTO projects are tied to what would later be called the GOALS project, so I am listing them here.
I am the Principal Investigator of the HST-NICMOS/WF3 program, whose primary function is to trace the stellar mass content in LIRGs using the H-band near-infrared light as a proxy. Sebastian Haan worked on this project as a post-doc. Additionally, post-doc Jean-Christophe Mauduit is currently working on a study of the environment around LIRGs using data from the SDSS. Specifically, what role does environmental density in LIRG formation? Nearly all LIRGs are formed via mergers, and they clearly avoid clusters. But is there a preference for high-density regions along filaments and other structures where the probability of galaxy-galaxy interactions remains high, but collisional parameters still favor actual mergers?