Timothy C. Beers, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy and JINA: Joint Instititute
for Nuclear Astrophysics, Michigan State University
Mining the Milky Way Galaxy with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Although the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) was conceived as primarily a
tool for exploration of the extragalactic universe, a number of the most
important recent discoveries have been made by studies of the stars in our OWN
galaxy, the Milky Way. These include the identification of large streams of
stellar debris associated with stripped dwarf galaxies (including the
Sagittarius dwarf, and most recently, the Canis Major dwarf), as well as the
recognition of numerous rare stellar objects, such as extremely metal-poor
stars, cataclysmic variables, brown dwarfs, carbon-enhanced stars, white dwarfs,
Spectroscopy and photometry from SDSS will revolutionize our view of the various stellar populations of the Milky Way, and provide numerous new objects of special interest to nuclear astrophysicists, such as neutron-capture-element enhanced stars that are required for constraining models of the astrophysical s- and r- processes.
In this talk I summarize some of the important discoveries to date, and describe plans for a proposed extension of the SDSS for carrying out detailed observations of the Milky Way, in which JINA hopes to play a significant role.