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Events at Physics

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Astronomy Colloquium
The Past, Present, and Future of the Milky Way
Date: Thursday, January 28th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee at 3:15 PM
Speaker: Robert Benjamin, UW Whitewater
Abstract: Ascertaining the three-dimensional structure of our Milky Way Galaxy in all of its components (stars, gas, star formation, magnetic fields, cosmic rays, and dark matter) has been a long and tortuous journey. But there is no other galaxy that we can study in such detail and all models for the structure and evolution of Galaxies must be consistent with the physical propeties that we measure in our host galaxy. The “modern era” of Galactic stucture began at Yerkes, Washburn, and Warner and Swasey Observatories, but rapidly moved to the mapping of the neutral hydrogen component of the Galaxy. I will provide a brief review of this history (come out to dinner with me and you can hear a lot more) and then update you on the current status and implications of what we know about the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. I will then discuss what we can expect to learn about the Milky Way in the future thanks to upcoming projects like Gaia, APOGEE-2, WFIRST, LSST, and (potentially) SPHEREx and point out areas where future investigations are needed.
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