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Near-field Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution

English title Near-field Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution
Applicant Grebel Eva K.
Number 113697
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Departement für Physik Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences
Start/End 01.10.2006 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 350'019.00
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Keywords (9)

Galaxy evolution; Milky Way; dwarf galaxies; stellar populations; chemical enrichment; stellar kinematics; Galactic structure; stellar abundances; dark matter

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
We are carrying out detailed studies of the chemical and dynamical properties of individual stars in the Milky Way, its companions, and other nearby galaxies in order to constrain their chemical enrichment histories and the number and importance of accretion events. The paradigm of galaxy evolution predicts that the Milky Way formed through numerous accretion events of smaller structures such as dwarf galaxies. One of our goals is to test the resulting observable predictions from this cosmological scenario. We are carrying out detailed studies of the stellar populations of the Milky Way and its dwarf companions using deep, wide-field imaging to determine the structural properties of the dwarf satellites and to search for merger signatures in and around dwarfs and in the Milky Way itself. Part of this is done in the framework of large international collaborations (Sloan Digital Sky Survey, RAdial Velocity Experiment) and serves to prepare future satellite missions we are participating in (the Space Interferometry Mission SIM (NASA) and the European satellite Gaia (ESA)). Furthermore, we utilize multi-object spectroscopy (1) to measure the stellar radial velocity dispersion profiles of dwarf galaxies as a function of radius to constrain the shape of their dark halos, and (2) to determine the kinematics of stars in and around the local spiral arm to measure its mass and to look for merger signatures. The spectra are also used to determine metallicities (and, to the extent possible, element abundance ratios) with unprecedented sample size. Ultimately we plan to derive the age-metallicity-velocity relation in dwarf galaxies and in parts of the Milky Way. These studies enable us to carry out ``near-field cosmology'' and to strongly constrain galaxy formation scenarios.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
105260 "Near-field cosmology" and galaxy evolution 01.10.2004 Project funding
122140 Near-field Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution 01.10.2008 Project funding