Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Astronomers to track migrating stars with ’genetic markers’


Some people are born, live and die in the one village. Others cross the world to new homes. Stars do the same. Our Galaxy is a melting-pot of stars from different places.

A team of 55 astronomers from 10 countries is today [Friday 10 February] releasing data on 25 000 stars to the rest of the astronomical community — data that will help sort the travellers from the stay-at-homes, and unravel the history of the Galaxy.

“Some stars were formed in our Galaxy. Others were originally in small galaxies that have been swallowed by ours. By measuring their chemistry, and tracing their speeds and directions, we can learn which stars came from where,” said Dr Quentin Parker of Macquarie University and the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and head of the RAVE Data Management Team.

“It’s like tracing how people have migrated all over the world, using genetic markers.”

The research program, called RAVE (Radial Velocity Experiment) has collected the chemical compositions and velocities (speeds) of about 90 000 stars to date — the 25 000 being released today and other 65 000 still being rigorously checked.

Even these first 25 000 measurements are more than all the stellar velocities measured in the previous century.

Ultimately the astronomers plan to build a database of a million individual stars.

To do this over just a few years they need to measure lots of stars simultaneously. And for that they’ve turned to the Anglo-Australian Observatory’s 1.2-m UK Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in central New South Wales, Australia.

“The Schmidt is a really wide-eyed telescope. It can see a patch of sky six degrees across — that’s like 12 full moons lined up in a row,” said Professor Fred Watson, RAVE Project Manager and Astronomer-in-Charge at the Anglo-Australian Telescope.

The telescope is coupled with the AAO’s ‘six-degree field’ (6dF) spectrograph, which analyses the stars’ light. The 6dF system can capture the spectra of up to 150 stars simultaneously. From the spectra the astronomers determine the stars’ velocities, chemical composition, temperature and gravitational strength.

The system can measure up to 700 stars a night.

The data release is being announced at the Local Group Cosmology meeting in Aspen, Colorado, by the leader of the RAVE collaboration, Professor Matthias Steinmetz of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam in Germany.

Members of the RAVE team come from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

| alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>