Day and night at the Anglo Australian Telescope. Half right image taken in the late afternoon, the Moon is up. Half left image taken just some few minutes before the beginning of the morning twilight of the same night. Photo: Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez/Aus
Original Published Date: 
Friday, November 6, 2020

Full article issued by The University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Researchers are excited by the astronomical questions that can now be answered following the release of ‘GALAH DR3’, the largest set of stellar chemical data ever compiled. The data, gleaned from over 30 million individual measurements, was gathered by astronomers at The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), using the Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) at the Australian Astronomical Observatory at Siding Spring in rural New South Wales.

The release is the third from the Galactic Archaeology with HERMES (GALAH) project, which aims to investigate star formation, chemical enrichment, migration and mergers in the Milky Way. It does this using an instrument called the High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph, or HERMES, which is connected to the AAT. The new data covers 600,000 stars and takes the project very close to meeting its goal of surveying one million. 

"Making large datasets like GALAH DR3 widely available is really important for astronomical research," explains Associate Professor Sarah Martell, who is an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient from UNSW and ASTRO 3D. 

"Since the start of the GALAH project, we have focused on building a dataset that can answer our questions about the history of the Milky Way, and also many others. I'm excited to see what our international colleagues will do with GALAH DR3."

The GALAH project’s previous data release – known as DR2 – took place in 2018. It has fuelled a raft of significant discoveries regarding the evolution of the Milky Way, the existence of exo-planets, hidden star clusters, and many more

Photo credit: 

Day and night at the Anglo Australian Telescope. Half right image taken in the late afternoon, the Moon is up. Half left image taken just some few minutes before the beginning of the morning twilight of the same night. Photo: Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez/Australian Astronomical Optics/Macquarie University/ASTRO 3D.