Continued support for the RAVE survey

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


The dominant stellar component of our Galaxy is its disc - the Sun is a part of this disc, so in every direction the disc surrounds us. The RAVE survey is a major international effort to determine the structure and history of the disc by measuring the velocities and chemical compositions of a million stars spread over the southern hemisphere. From the velocities measured it will be possible to determine the mass density throughout a sphere centred on the Sun that is several thousand light years in radius. The difference between this mass density and the observed density of stars and gas we will determine the local distribution of the mysterious dark matter that makes up more than 80% of the mass of the Universe. Within the data taken we expect to be able to identify the relics of star clusters and dwarf galaxies that have been pulled apart by the Galaxy's gravitational field. A census of such objects will help us to understand the Galaxy's star-formation and accretion history. Additional insight into the Galaxy's star-formation history will be obtained from chemical composition measurements. The data will also reveal changes in the velocities of the stars caused by the Galaxy's spiral arms, and thus deepen our understanding of the important phenomenon of spiral structure.


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

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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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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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McMillan P (2009) The dangers of deprojection of proper motions in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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

Description This survey has been a major source of information regarding the structure and history of our Galaxy. It has produced the tightest constraints on the local density of dark matter. On the way to doing this it has enabled us to understand in much greater detail the structure of the Galaxy's stellar discs. Exploitation of the data continues.
Exploitation Route Many
Sectors Education

Description The RAVE consortium 
Organisation The RAVE consortium
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in modelling the Galaxy
Collaborator Contribution The consortium is an international collaboration involving ~40 institutes worldwide. As a result of this grant several consortium members from outside the UK have spent time in Oxford
Impact Many research papers
Start Year 2006
Description Talks to schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Reported under another grant

Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014