The Gordon Patston Memorial Lecture for 2021
Title: Galactic Archaeology with the GALAH Survey: Unravelling the formation history of our own Galaxy
Speaker: Dr Sven Buder
Abstract: The history of our cosmos is written in star light! Join me on my journey to explore how stars can be our time capsule across all astronomical scales, and even to past collisions of our Milky Way with other galaxies. I will show you how we can actually extract the information from star light with Australia’s biggest optical telescope in Coonabarabran through images and stellar spectra. This information allows us to see our Galaxy in great detail and I will show you how we use measurements of billions of stars to understand the structure and evolution of our Galaxy beyond the thousands of stars that we can see with the naked eye.
Biography: I am a Galactic archaeologist, that means I use stars as “fossils” to explore the evolution of our Milky Way and find the missing key pages in the formation story of our Galaxy. I have used all kinds of telescopes to survey the Northern sky already during my Bachelor and Master studies in the German town of Jena. You may not have heard of it (yet) - but it is the headquarters of Carl Zeiss, the world's biggest producer of telescope mirrors and optics. Equipped with a PhD in Astrophysics from Heidelberg University in Germany, I am currently working at the Australian National University in Canberra as a Research Fellow, and I use observations from the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Coonabarabran to survey our Southern Sky. I am the lead analyst of the GALAH survey which aims to take 1 million(!) high-quality spectra of stars and extract their elemental abundances - their chemical fingerprints - from them.