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APOGEE: The Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment

28 Nov 2013 - 2:30pm
28 Nov 2013 - 3:30pm

Abstract: APOGEE is an ongoing large-scale survey of the stellar populations of the Galaxy, which will likely promote a paradigm change in our understanding of the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy. One of four surveys making up the third installation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), APOGEE started observations in May 2011 and has now entered its third year of operations, collecting high resolution, high S/N, H-band spectra for 100,000 giant star candidates from all components of the Galaxy (thin and thick disks, bulge, and halo). Accurate radial velocities and abundances of 15 elements are being extracted from APOGEE spectra, and these data will provide fundamental constraints on models for the formation of the Galaxy. I will describe the survey, its main science goals, and present a few science highlights. I will conclude by talking about the next incarnation of the survey, APOGEE-2, which is planned to start operations following the completion of APOGEE, in the summer of 2014. One of three SDSS-IV experiments, APOGEE-2 will increase the original APOGEE sample by a factor of several, and greatly expand its spatial coverage by addition of a Southern component, based at the du Pont 2.5 m telescope in Las Campanas, Chile. The main science goals and current status of APOGEE-2 will be briefly presented.