Twenty years ago, little was known about how galaxies formed and evolved. Since the first systematic survey of distant galaxies in the 1990s, a lot of resources have been devoted to similar surveys. Distant galaxies are indeed the witnesses of the various stages of galaxy evolution and formation over several billion years, encompassing over 95 per cent of the Universe age. However, we are still far from completely understanding what physical processes dominate galaxy formation and evolution. In fact, a considerable number of effects linked to the observational procedure and to cosmology are limiting the interpretation of the observations, and, above all, the necessary link that has to be established between present-day and distant galaxies. In this book, we propose to review the overall methodology that is required to interpret observations of distant galaxies, and to derive physical quantities from them.
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