Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First RAVE data release offers clues to Milky Way evolution

13.02.2006


An international team of astronomers released to the public the first data collected as part of the Radial Velocity Experiment, an ambitious spectroscopic survey aimed at measuring the speed, temperature, surface gravity and composition of up to a million stars passing near the sun.



The measurements, released at an astrophysics workshop at the Aspen Center for Physics in Colorado and available today online to other astronomers, includes examination of old "fossil" stars that were born when our Milky Way galaxy was in its infancy. Team members posit that such data may eventually provide evidence to back up theories that our galaxy has -- over time -- "cannibalized" other, smaller galaxies and is "digesting" them.

"Our research focuses on the oldest stars, and probes the earliest phases of the evolution of our home galaxy, the Milky Way," said Rosemary Wyse, a professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy in Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and a member of the RAVE team. "The unprecedented sample available with RAVE will allow me -- and now, with the release of this data, others -- to test ideas of our origins laid out by various cosmological theories."


The team also includes members from the United States, Germany, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and France.

The survey has been made possible by the unique capabilities of the "six-degree field" multi-object spectrograph on the 1.2-meter UK Schmidt Telescope of the Anglo-Australian Observatory, located at Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. This instrument is capable of obtaining spectroscopic information for as many as 150 stars at once, from an area of the sky equal to more than 150 times the area covered by the full moon.

"The data we are making public today is twice the sample size of any previous survey, and has extremely high quality," Wyse said. "Other astronomers can definitely use these data in their work. All they have to do is go to our Web site and download it."

The RAVE survey measures the velocities of stars along the line of sight, something that has previously been difficult to obtain for such large samples of stars. Data from RAVE’s first year of operation consists of information from some 25,000 stars, including measurement of their brightness, color and motion across the sky.

"This data set will provide a unique resource for all astronomers working in the field of galactic evolution and, with our public data release, the astronomical community can participate in our endeavor," says Tomaz Zwitter of the Ljubljana University in Slovenia and project scientist of the RAVE survey. "This first sample by itself is already two times the size of the previous largest survey of stars near the sun."

Matthias Steinmetz, director of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and leader of the RAVE collaboration, predicted that "the full RAVE survey will provide a vast resource of stellar motions and chemical abundances, allowing us to answer fundamental questions of the formation and evolution of our galaxy."

Lisa DeNike | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhu.edu
http://www.rave-survey.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property
26.07.2017 | City College of New York

nachricht Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
26.07.2017 | University of Maryland

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: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>