Schedule Oct 02, 2008
The SDSS View of the Milky Way: Mapping the Density, Metallicity and Kinematics of the Galaxy
Mario Juric (IAS)

The distribution and properties of stars in the Milky Way hold information about the formation and evolution of the Galaxy. Traditionally, these were measured in small samples of stars that were often biased or did not extend far beyond the Solar neighborhood. With the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we can overcome these issues, and directly map the number density, kinematics, and metallicity distributions of stars over a representative portion of the Galaxy. These maps allow us to characterize the global properties of the Milky Way, identify infalling satellites and tidally disrupted remnants, measure the scales of Galactic components, and observe the relationships between various kinematic and physical properties. For example, the latest maps of metallicity and kinematics reveal in drammatic fashon the differing content of metals and different rotational velocity distributions of disk and halo stars in our Galaxy. Maps such as these put constraints on the structure and origin of Galactic components, and set benchmarks and comparison points for testing of future Milky Way formation models.

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