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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 2318

  Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Astronomy Colloquium
"Spectroscopic Support of Southern Photometric Surveys"
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Mario Mateo, University of Michigan
Abstract: he upcoming large-scale photometric surveys of the Southern Sky (SkyMapper, PanSTARRS, LSST, GAIA) promise to produce vast catalogs of interesting targets relevant to just about every area of modern astrophysics. I will describe a conceptual plan for a dedicated, all-sky spectroscopic survey that would powerfully complement these photometric projects. The focus of this plan is to develop a facility - the Southern Spectroscopic Survey Telescope (SSST) - that will provide highly flexible, wide-field and moderately deep spectroscopic capabilities over the entire Southern sky. The SSST's capabilities - all based on well-understood, proven technologies - allow it to efficiently explore a wide range of science projects. In particular, the SSST's ability to carry out a range of spectroscopic surveys simultaneously - each of which may involve targets with diverse field distributions and which require vastly different wavelength coverage and spectral resolution - will make it a uniquely powerful facility to advance a broad range of astronomical disciplines. I will describe how the science case for the SSST might be developed and implemented using, as preliminary examples, some specific science cases of interest to astronomers at the University of Michigan. I will also outline an approach that we have begun to pursue that aims to build a viable consortium -perhaps one spearheaded by the institutions of the Big-10? - that could build and operate the SSST through its initial survey cycles.
Host: Professor Matt Bershady
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