Dynamical models of the milky way

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics

Abstract

A huge investment is currently being made in surveys of stars in our Galaxy. From the motions of these stars we can in principle determine the distribution in the Galaxy of the mysterious dark matter that comprises more than 80% of the matter in the Universe. From the motions of stars we also expect to be able to reconstruct the way the Galaxy was assembled from smaller units that merged together. To achieve these goals we need sophistcated dynamical models and software that enables us to assess how likely a model is given the measured data. This grant funds the construction of such models and software, and early applications to data from ground-based observatories. Eventually the models will be used to extract the science goals of the European Space Agency's 'Cornerstone Mission' Gaia, which will measure the positions and velocities of a billion stars.

Publications

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Burnett B (2010) Stellar distances from spectroscopic observations: a new technique Distances from stellar spectra in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Schönrich R (2009) Origin and structure of the Galactic disc(s) in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Eyre A (2009) Locating the orbits delineated by tidal streams in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Bland-Hawthorn J (2019) The GALAH survey and Gaia DR2: dissecting the stellar disc's phase space by age, action, chemistry, and location in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders J (2015) A fast algorithm for estimating actions in triaxial potentials in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders J (2013) Stream-orbit misalignment - II. A new algorithm to constrain the Galactic potential in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2020) Angle-action variables for orbits trapped at a Lindblad resonance in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Das P (2016) Characterizing stellar halo populations II: the age gradient in blue horizontal-branch stars in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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McMillan P (2010) The uncertainty in Galactic parameters in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Monari G (2017) Distribution functions for resonantly trapped orbits in the Galactic disc in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders J (2013) Stream-orbit misalignment - I. The dangers of orbit-fitting in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2011) Models of our Galaxy - II Models of our Galaxy - II in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders J (2016) A review of action estimation methods for galactic dynamics in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Aumer M (2017) Migration and kinematics in growing disc galaxies with thin and thick discs in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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McMillan P (2018) Improved distances and ages for stars common to TGAS and RAVE in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sormani M (2015) Gas flow in barred potentials - III. Effects of varying the quadrupole in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Pascale R (2018) Action-based dynamical models of dwarf spheroidal galaxies: application to Fornax in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Eyre A (2011) The mechanics of tidal streams The mechanics of tidal streams in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Pezzulli Gabriele (2017) The angular momentum of cosmological coronae and the inside-out growth of spiral galaxies in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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McMillan P (2013) Analysing surveys of our Galaxy - II. Determining the potential in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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McMillan P (2012) Analysing surveys of our Galaxy - I. Basic astrometric data Analysing surveys of our Galaxy in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2014) New distances to RAVE stars in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Wojno J (2018) Correlations between age, kinematics, and chemistry as seen by the RAVE survey in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Williams M (2013) The wobbly Galaxy: kinematics north and south with RAVE red-clump giants in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Pascale R (2019) Action-based models for dwarf spheroidal galaxies and globular clusters in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Schönrich R (2010) Local kinematics and the local standard of rest in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2012) Actions for axisymmetric potentials Actions for axisymmetric potentials in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney James (2017) Modelling the Milky Way's globular cluster system in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2020) The shearing sheet and swing amplification revisited in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sormani M (2015) Gas flow in barred potentials - II. Bar-driven spiral arms in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Wojno J (2017) The selection function of the RAVE survey in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders Jason L. (2015) TACT: The Action Computation Tool in Astrophysics Source Code Library

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Binney James (2015) TM: Torus Mapper in Astrophysics Source Code Library

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Breddels M (2010) Distance determination for RAVE stars using stellar models in Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Sacco G (2014) The Gaia -ESO Survey: processing FLAMES-UVES spectra in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Lanzafame A (2015) Gaia -ESO Survey: Analysis of pre-main sequence stellar spectra in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Binney James (2015) Chemodynamical modelling of the Milky Way in ArXiv e-prints

 
Description STFC studentships
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2009 
End 09/2012
 
Description A new generation of Galaxy models 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute For Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in dynamical modelling
Collaborator Contribution Participation in several worthwhile papers
Impact The paper Sharma et al in the publications list. Also a contribution to a paper Burnett et al that has been submitted & is under review
Start Year 2010
 
Description A new generation of Galaxy models 
Organisation University of Sydney
Department School of Physics
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in dynamical modelling
Collaborator Contribution Participation in several worthwhile papers
Impact The paper Sharma et al in the publications list. Also a contribution to a paper Burnett et al that has been submitted & is under review
Start Year 2010
 
Description Galactic fountains and gas accretion 
Organisation University of Bologna
Department Department of Physics and Astronomy
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in dynamical modelling and in the theory of the intergalactic medium
Collaborator Contribution Fellowships to suport work in Oxford by colleagues from Bologna and through this participation in several publications (only 1 of these appeared after the grant start date and a further one has been submitted & is under review)
Impact Several well-cited papers
 
Description Modelling the chemodynamical evolution of the Milky Way 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute For Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in dynamical modelling
Collaborator Contribution Participation in significant papers
Impact We have published three joint papers so far (two in the publication list, one appeared before the grant start date) and several in preparation. These are already widely cited papers
Start Year 2007
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I regularly give talks at schools. Sometimes it is to the Physics Society, sometimes it is a talk to 6th formers (although younger pupils often attend too). There are always lots of good questions.

Nothing to report
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description Talks to local astronomy clubs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact These events usually attract ~30 people with a wide range of educational backgrounds. There are always plenty of questions, some quite shrewd.

Nothing to report
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2011