The study of the main components of our Galaxy (Disks, Halo, Bulge, Clusters) is of the uttermost importance to understand the formation and evolution of external galaxies. It is only in our Galaxy that the properties of the different components can be studied in great detail.

Observations of the chemical and kinematical properties of samples of stars belonging to halo and thick disk, the discovery of extremely metal poor stars, the detailed study of Globular clusters, allow to define the properties of the oldest galactic populations and the different merging and accretion processes that affected our Galaxy during its evolution. This include the derivation of accurate age and metallicity for stars and globular clusters and the study of the role of stellar internal mixing from anomalous chemical compositions. The discovery of multiple populations in Globular Clusters represents a key ingredient fot the definition of their formation and evolution.

The Galactic Bulge has been studied by dedicated observational projects, aiming to derive the age distribution and metallicity of its stars. Other research activities are dedicated to  the global morphology of the Milky Way from stellar counts  and on the study of the extinctions on different lines of sight, to constrain the  dust properties in our galaxy.

Population synthesis method allows to define the large scale properties of the Galactic stellar populations, from color-magnitude diagrams and from kinematic data. The stars distribution on the CMD carries the signature of the Star Formation History; their position and kinematics trace the dynamical evolution. This information is combined in a simulator, used as a tool to recover the structure and evolution of the Milky Way.

Simulations of stellar counts in any position of the sky can be obtained interactively with the  tTRILEGALool at OAPd. The simulator, which includes a wide variety of photometric systems, can be used both to interpret existing data sets, and to design future surveys. In fact, it is being applied to the data from the SDSS-III Survey, in which the OAPd  is involved.

A more sophisticated version of the Padova Galaxy Model including the kinematics of the disks and the halo is also developed.

The ESA cornerstone mission Gaia (launch 2013) will allow an unprecedented view of the formation and evolution of our Galaxy, giving the phase space distribution and metallicity for a billion stars. Padova has a important management responsibilities on the DPAC, the international consortium of over 400 scientists that will process the Gaia data. Padova contribution is mainly focused on the problem of deriving the stellar astrophysical parameters that will be part of the final Gaia catalog.

 Gaia has limited spectroscopic capabilities, allowing the derivation of chemical abundances and radial velocities only for bright start ( G< 11 e G< 16 respectively). To complement Gaia measures, a 300-author team proposed the Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey to ESO and was granted of  300 nights. The survey will derive metallicity and radial velocities up to G=19, for field stars and for open clusters, using  FLAMES (GIRAFFE and UVES) on the VLT, to obstain an homogeneous study of all Galactic stellar populations. Padova Observatory is one of the leading Institutes in this project (with Firenze and Bologna).


The OAPd  is involved in the RAVE survey, that secured spectra of bright high galactic latitude stars in the same wavelength region studied with GAIA. The main objective of the survey is to derive radial velocities and chemical abundances. Researchers at the Observatory are responsible for the data extraction and calibration, and for the validation of the derived atmospheric parameters via the acquisition and analysis of NTT and AAT data.

A sample of Red Clump Stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue is the target of the ARCS spectroscopic survey, conducted at the Asiago telescope. Coupling the astrometric, kinematic and photometric information will provide important clues for studies of the galactic structure and dynamics. This, and other researches benefit from the development of a library of synthetic stellar spectra covering the wavelength range from 2500 to 10500 A and with various values of the spectral resolution. This library constitutes the reference data base for the automated analysis of spectral surveys.


The milky way galaxy: past studies


Il notiziario online dell'Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica
  • L’hanno vista in tanti, tantissimi, dal nord al sud del Paese. E due camere del progetto Prisma, quella di Trieste e quella di Capua, sono riuscite a immortalarla: è la “super stella cadente” che ha solcato i cieli della Penisola alle 20:55:32 del 18 agosto. Se l’avete vista anche voi, gli astronomi attendono la vostra segnalazione

  • Scoperto nel 2010, l’asteroide della fascia principale 2010 CV60 era stato dedicato – dall’astronoma dell'Agenzia spaziale statunitense Amy Mainzer – alla cantautrice scomparsa ieri, giovedì 16 agosto, all’età di 76 anni

  • È dallo scorso 10 giugno che il rover Opportunity della Nasa non dà segni di vita. Ma la tempesta di polvere che lo ha costretto all’isolamento sembra placarsi, e i tecnici della missione si preparano a tentare di ristabilire un collegamento

  • In orbita stetta attorno a una stella a 650 anni luce da noi, il gigante gassoso ha una temperatura elevatissima: oltre 4000 gradi. La rilevazione dei metalli è avvenuta grazie allo strumento Harps-N del Tng. Fra gli autori dello studio, pubblicato oggi su Nature, c’è anche Emilio Molinari, direttore dell’Inaf di Cagliari

  • Inauguriamo con quest’intervista a Lorenzo Amati, principal investigator di Theseus, uno speciale in tre puntate dedicato alle missioni – Theseus, appunto, Spica ed EnVision – in corsa per la selezione M5 dell’Esa, l’Agenzia spaziale europea

  • I protoni presenti nei nuclei degli atomi più pesanti sembrano avere in media più “vigore” dei neutroni, e questo proprio per il fatto di essere in minoranza. Fenomeno che dovrebbe dunque presentarsi ancora più marcato nelle stelle di neutroni. Lo studio oggi su Nature

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