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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Binney J (2014) Dynamical models and Galaxy surveys in Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

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Binney J (2013) Dynamics for galactic archaeology in New Astronomy Reviews

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Nipoti C (2015) Early flattening of dark matter cusps in dwarf spheroidal galaxies in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sanders J (2015) Extended distribution functions for our Galaxy in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Eyre A (2009) Fitting orbits to tidal streams with proper motions in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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

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Marinacci F (2011) Galactic fountains and the rotation of disc-galaxy coronae Rotation of galactic coronae in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Binney J (2014) Galactic kinematics and dynamics from Radial Velocity Experiment stars in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Sharma S (2011) GALAXIA: A CODE TO GENERATE A SYNTHETIC SURVEY OF THE MILKY WAY in The Astrophysical Journal

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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

 
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