Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Large International Projects

Astrometric Satellite Mission Gaia

Gaia is the next big astrometry mission by the European Space Agency ESA to be launched in 2012. Gaia will measure the positions, parallaxes, proper motions, luminosities and colours of more than 1 billion stars with unprecedented precision, complemented by radial velcities and spectra of 100 million stars. Main goal is to elucidate the structure, formation and evolution of the Milky Way. For more details see also Gaia@ARI. Special tools for the efficient use of the vast amount of astrometric data provided by Gaia are developed by the European Leadership in Space Astrometry (ELSA).

Probing Lens Anomaly NETwork (PLANET)

PLANET is a collaboration to follow-up gravitational lensing events with the aim to discover extra-solar planets. This method is potentially sensitive to masses as small as the Earth's.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS III)

Building on the legacy of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and SDSS II, the SDSS III (2008 - 2014) is carrying out a program of four surveys to map the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way, to find and characterize extrasolar planetary systems, and to understand dark energy and the nature of the universe. The photometric and spectroscopic survey data are obtained with a dedicated 2.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory, USA.

Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE)

RAVE (2003-2011) in Australia measures radial velocities and the chemical composition of 1 million stars at the Southern sky to determine the evolution of the Milky Way disc.

Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS)

Pan-STARRS (2010 - 2013) is a northern imaging sky survey covering three quarters of the sky. Pan-STARRS at Hawaii will start very soon a new Northern sky survey, which is able to measure five times fainter objects than the SDSS. Additionally to brightnesses and colours the variability of objects will be determined. The search for extrasolar planets and the investigation of structure and evolution of the Milky Way and distant galaxies are important aims of the project.

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