Archivi tag: surveys

IAUS 298: Setting the Scene of Gaia and LAMOST

With the upcoming astrometric satellite Gaia and the complementary large scale ground based surveys, such as LAMOST, Galactic Astronomy is set to enter a new era. We will have access to high quality data for several hundred thousands of stars. Both to obtain as well as interpret such large amounts of data sets new challenges for the Galactic astronomers. The meeting in Lijiang was conceived out of a need to prepare the community for the challenges ahead and, in particular, to foster stronger relations between observers and modellers. Ultimately we wish to create a detailed map of our Galaxy and to understand why it looks like it does. That can only be achieved through constant intercourse between modellers and observers. The SOC hopes that the program at this meeting will help facilitate this process.

The formation and evolution of galaxies is a key topic in contemporary astrophysics. This topic can be studied in essentially two ways: through the study of large numbers of galaxies at different times of the evolution of the universe, or through the detailed study of the Milky Way and its close neighbours. The latter is often referred to as near-field cosmology, and can provide surprisingly strong constraints on models of galaxy formation and evolution. However, the study of the Milky Way as a galaxy is not an easy task. In particular the detailed knowledge of the distribution of the stellar content, both in space and in velocity space, is severely lacking. This means that it is difficult to fully constrain evolution and formation models of the different components of the Milky Way. In 1944 Walter Baade introduced the concept of Stellar Populations. The concept was has remained a highly useful tool to quickly identify and classify different generations of stars in galaxies. However, the last decades have seen a move away from this fairly static, even if complex, concept to a more dynamic and flexible way of characterizing the stellar components in the Galaxy by means of the individual star’s age, metallicity, orbit etc.  This shift in how we study major stellar populations in our own and nearby galaxies has  benefited from advances both in theory as well as in observations. In particular the advent of wide field CCDs and dedicated survey telescopes as well as advances in computer technology that now allows for truly detailed models of various aspects of the evolution of the Milky Way have moved the study of our Galaxy into the first part of a new era. The advent of Gaia will take us truly into the era of precision studies of the Milky Way. In the meantime several very large surveys have contributed and will continue to contribute to our deepening understanding of the Milky Way as a galaxy. Gaia is scheduled to launch 2013 and will provide parallaxes and proper motions for a billion objects and radial velocities for 150 million stars, enabling the exploration of the Milky Way to take an unprecedented quantum leap forward. We will be working in a completely new regime – that of precision Galactic astronomy. These changes put serious and new demands on our analysis of the data and modeling of the Galaxy. Around the world there are currently a number of on-going or planned major surveys that, although they have their own stand-alone science cases and goals, will complement Gaia in fundamental ways. One of the most ambitious of these projects is the innovative LAMOST telescope, equipped with some 4000 fibres and a 20 square degree field of view. LAMOST is the largest Chinese telescope and one of the National Major Scientific Projects undertaken by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This and other projects, such as the Gaia-ESO Survey, SEGUE-2, HERMES/GALAH, and APOGEE, will provide vital complementary data to Gaia. Of great importance, they will supplement the high quality proper motions from Gaia with radial velocities of equal quality for stars fainter than Gaia’s limits, enabling a fully detailed 6D phase space map of the Milky Way to be constructed. Theorists and observers alike find these forthcoming projects exciting. This meeting offers a very timely opportunity to bring observers and theoreticians together to discuss in depth the possibilities to overhaul and update our traditional view of the Milky Way and its sub-components. Thus we have a very substantial section on the Milky Way galaxy as seen through observations, a dedicated session on the most recent advances in stellar abundance analysis, extensive coverage and update on on-going surveys, and the conference ends with a major session on modeling of galaxies with special emphasis on reviewing the state of the art of the various modeling approaches and their application to the Milky Way. The aim is to deepen the discussion and interplay between modelers and observers to take advantage of the challenges and possibilities that these new data sets offer. By bringing together theorists, observers, and survey scientists interested in our Galactic system, we will maximise the impact of the Symposium, which is sure to encourage and excite, leading to new insights and a community better prepared to take scientific advantage of Gaia, LAMOST and all the large (by then) on-going or upcoming surveys.

Radio Astronomy in the LSST Era

NRAO will host a 2 ½ day workshop to explore the landscape of radio wavelength observations in an era in which the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is producing thousands of nightly alerts and developing a deep, multi-color view of the sky.  Radio wavelength observations will provide independent, complementary views of the sky, and they will be crucial for full exploitation of the LSST data products.  The workshop will be structured around the science themes of time domain radio astronomy and radio complements to multi-wavelength sky surveys, leading to the identification of emerging scientific and technical capabilities needed for conducting observations in these areas.  The workshop will be focused around invited talks covering key areas, but there will also be ample opportunity for contributed talks, posters, and discussion. A goal of the workshop is to produce a community document summarizing the outcomes, the range of observations, and needed capabilities. The workshop will be held in Charlottesville from May 6 to 8, 2013.

ESLAB 2013: The Universe as seen by Planck

The objective of the conference is to present and discuss the initial science results from Planck, ESA’s mission to map the anisotropies of the Cosmic Microwave Background. It is the first scientific forum where these results will be addressed, following Planck’s first major release of data products and scientific papers in early 2013. It will cover both cosmology (based on analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background) and astrophysics (based on analysis of foreground emission sources). The Planck satellite was launched on 14 May 2009, and has been surveying the sky continuously since August 2009. The nominal duration of the mission was completed in November of 2010, but Planck still continues to gather data. Data processing has been progressing and a first set of cosmological-grade data products will be released to the astronomical community in early 2013. These products will consist mainly of temperature maps of the whole sky at nine frequencies between 30 GHz and 857 GHz, which allow us to extract a map of the temperature anisotropies of the Cosmic Microwave Background, as well as maps of many astrophysical foregrounds. The latter most importantly include synchrotron, free-free and dust emission from the Milky Way, radio and far-infrared emission from external galaxies, the characteristic signatures due to the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect in clusters of galaxies, and the Cosmic Infrared Background. The Planck data therefore provide for an extremely broad range of cosmological and astrophysical science.

More info: ESLAB 2013

The Next Generation CFHT: A 10m, Wide-Field, Spectroscopic Telescope for the Coming Decade

For over 30 years the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and its international community have developed innovative capabilities to support advanced research. CFHT was among the first on Mauna Kea to develop a facility class adaptive optics system, multi-object and integral field spectrographs, and wide field panoramic imagers. Today we look to a future that builds upon our past, including the possibility of replacing the current 3.6 m telescope with a 10 m facility dedicated to wide field spectroscopy. If pursued, the next-generation CFHT (ngCFHT) would re-use the existing facility except for the telescope and dome, which would be replaced. While this concept is in infancy from a technical development perspective, considerable work has been completed in defining the science objectives for such a facility and we look forward to hosting members of the international astronomy community in Hawaii to discuss ngCFHT.

More information on ngCFHT is available at: The Next Generation CFHT, A Study