The observational work of the group is mostly linked to massive stellar spectroscopic surveys.
The AIP is the coordinating institute of the RAVE survey, a partner in the SDSS-II collaboration for SEGUE and Supernovae and contributes to the preparation of ESA's next astrometric satellite Gaia.
We use the Milky Way, a typical spiral galaxy, as a test case for galaxy formation.
Its completeness and homogeneity will make it an invaluable stand-alone resource, but its full potential will be realised when the radial velocities are combined with proper motions and parallaxes from other sources (USNO, Tycho).Gaia is an ambitious mission from the European Space Agency, ESA, to chart a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, in the process revealing the composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy.Some of our current projects are summarized below: The group is involved in three major spectroscopic surveys of the Milky Way southern hemisphere.The AIP is the coordinating institute of the RAVE survey, and the group is in charge of the data processing, the validation of the data products and the database and www access for the collaboration.More information for each survey is provided below.
RAVE is an ambitious program to conduct a survey to measure the radial velocities, metallicities and abundance ratios for up to a million stars using the 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope of the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO), over the period 2003 - 2010.
The study of galaxy formation and evolution aims at explaining this variety as well as its statistical properties.
The group focuses on both theoretical and observational problems, with a particular emphasis on the preparation and exploitation of ongoing and future large spectroscopic surveys of the Milky Way.
The AIP is one of the very few institutes in the world with access to both RAVE data and SDSS/SEGUE data.
Our observational projects are focused on using the large amount of data provided by those two surveys to study the details of the formation and of the structure of the Milky Way and its mass distribution.
This survey would comprise 0.7 million thin disk main sequence stars, 250,000 thick disk stars, 100,000 bulge and halo stars, and a further 50,000 giant stars including some out to 10 kpc from the Sun.