Galaxy Formation


The Milky Way was formed from the merging of several smaller galaxies. The incomplete mixing from these mergers means that certain neighborhoods of the galaxy show signs of their common ancestry, by common features in their chemical compositions. On a larger scale the formation of galaxy clusters is sensitive to fundamental cosmological parameters like the densities of dark energy and dark matter in the universe. In the last few years, and in the next decade, large scale surveys of stellar populations is making it possible to study the structure of our galaxy and of galaxy clusters in unprecedented detail. Some of the astronomy projects that are providing and will provide information include: the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE), the Dark Energy Survey, microwave surveys like the South-Pole Telescope survey, and X-ray surveys like the European eROSITA mission. Modeling the coalescence of the billions of stars in the Milky Way depends on assumptions about the amount and properties of the dark matter and dark energy in the Universe, and in the galaxy. By comparing simulations with the rapidly growing observational data set, MADAI will provide constraints on fundamental cosmological parameters from galaxy formation.