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The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
We present results on the stellar populations of 232 quiescent galaxies in the Shapley Supercluster, based on spectroscopy from the AAOmega spectrograph at the AAT. The key characteristic of this survey is its coverage of many low-luminosity objects (σ ~ 50 kms−1), with high signal-to-noise (~45 Å−1). Balmer-line age estimates are recovered with ~25% precision even for the faintest sample members. We summarize the observations and absorption line data, and present correlations of derived ages and metallicities with mass and luminosity. We highlight the strong correlation between age and α-element abundance ratio, and the anti-correlation of age and metallicity at fixed mass, which is shown to extend into the low-luminosity regime.
Red-sequence galaxies are known to obey well-defined scaling relations, such as the Fundamental Plane and the colour-magnitude relation, yet their star formation histories, which in part drive these relations, remain poorly understood. In this contribution, we summarize recent results from the NOAO Fundamental Plane Survey (NFPS). These results appear in more detail in Smith et al. (2006) and Nelan et al. (2005).
The SMAC cluster sample (Hudson et al. 1999), with a depth of ˜ 12000km s-1, has a bulk velocity of ˜ 600 km s-1, with respect to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) frame. Other surveys (Willick 1999, hereafter LP10k; Lauer & Postman 1994, hereafter ACIF) have also yielded large bulk motions on similarly large scales. Taken at face value, these results appear to be in conflict with bulk flows expected from favoured cosmological models. However, at the same time, other surveys (notably Dale et al. 1999, hereafter SC) have found rather small bulk motions on large scales. We have measured bulk flows from the above mentioned surveys plus SNIa (Riess et al. 1995) in a consistent way. The results are given in Table 1. The measurement errors are due to peculiar velocity errors. Note that these are the errors typically quoted. Based on these errors alone, there appears to be conflict between some of the surveys (e.g. SC vs SMAC).
Two classes of elliptical galaxies are now recognised (Kormendy & Bender 1996). Luminous ellipticals rotate slowly (Davies et al. 1983and tend to have boxy isophotes. Ellipticals fainter than L∗ exhibit an increasing tendency to be rotationally supported and to possess a stellar disk component. This dichotomy led Bender, Burstein & Faber (1992) to suggest that the physical variable that controls the ultimate nature of a forming galaxy is the degree of gaseous dissipation that occurs in the final merger it experiences. Low luminosity systems experience more dissipative mergers which generate high rotation, disky end products. As bigger galaxies are formed, the mergers become increasingly stellar, producing the classical slow rotating ellipticals. They termed this the gas/stellar continuum. This global dichotomy is also reflected in the bimodality of core morphologies of the heterogeneous sample of local ellipticals observed with HST. The low luminosity disky galaxies have ‘hard’ cores with a steep slope in the luminosity profile at small radii, whereas the luminous galaxies have ‘soft’ cores with flat profiles at small radii (e.g. Faber et al. 1997).
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