Project summary
The goal of this ERC project is to put in place the infrastructure required to extract the promised science for large surveys of our Galaxy that are underway and will culminate in ESA's Cornerstone Mission Gaia. Dynamical models are fundamental to this process because surveys are heavily biased by the Sun's location in the Galaxy. Novel dynamical models will be built and novel methods of fitting them to the data developed. With their help we will be able to constrain the distribution of dark matter in the Galaxy. By modelling the chemical and dynamical evolution of the Galaxy we expect to be able to infer much information about how the Galaxy was assembled, and thus test the prevailing cosmological paradigm. During the grant period we will be applying our tools to ground-based surveys, but the first version of the Gaia Catalogue will become available at the end of the grant period, and our goal is to have everything ready and tested for its prompt exploitation.

A detailed description of the project can be found here.

The researchers involved the project are based in the Galactic Dynamics group at the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford.

Code developed during the course of this project can be found at GitHub. There is also an Android application demonstrating orbits in our Galaxy.

Journal papers

Piffl, T., Binney, J., McMillan, P., Steinmetz, M., Helmi, A. et al., 2014, 'Constraining the Galaxy's dark halo with RAVE stars', MNRAS, 445, 3

Binney, J., Burnett, B., Kordopatis, G., Steinmetz, M., Gilmore, G. et al., 2014, 'Galactic kinematics and dynamics from Radial Velocity Experiment stars', MNRAS, 439, 2

Sanders J., Binney J., 2014, 'Actions, angles and frequencies for numerically integrated orbits', MNRAS, 441, 4

Piffl, T., Scannapieco, C., Binney, J., Steinmetz, M., Scholz, R. et al., 2014, 'The RAVE survey: the Galactic escape speed and the mass of the Milky Way', A&A, 562A, 91P

Binney, J., Burnett, B., Kordopatis, G., McMillan, P., Sharma, S. et al., 2014, 'New distances to RAVE stars', MNRAS, 437, 1

Binney, J., 2013, 'Dynamics for galactic archaeology', New Astronomy Reviews, 57, 3-4

Sanders, J., Binney, J., 2013, 'Stream-orbit misalignment - II. A new algorithm to constrain the Galactic potential', MNRAS, 433, 3

McMillan, P., Binney, J., 2013, 'Analysing surveys of our Galaxy - II. Determining the potential', MNRAS, 433, 2