Galactic archaeology

The goal of Galactic archaeology is to unravel the history of assembly of the Milky Way, using fossil remnants of ancient star formation events which have disrupted and are now dispersed around the Galaxy. Recent studies of chemical abundances of stars in individual (undispersed) open and globular clusters show that their abundances appear to be homogeneous to the level at which they can be measured, at least for elements heavier than Al. The technique of chemical tagging can be used to identify the fossil remnants of old dispersed clusters from their element abundance patterns over many chemical elements. We plan to use the new HERMES multi-object high resolution spectrometer on the Anglo Australian Telescope to measure abundances for up to 30 elements in about a million stars. This program is called GALAH (Galactic archaeology with HERMES) and we plan to begin the pilot study
in mid-2013.

FileKen_Freeman_in_2008Ken Freeman is an renowned Australian astronomer and astrophysicist who currently is Duffield Professor of Astronomy in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Mount Stromlo Observatory of the Australian National University in Canberra. He is known as the man who explained galactic dark matter to the world and won recently the PM’s Prize for Science.


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