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The GAMA survey is large survey of about 300,000 galaxies in the relatively nearby Universe. Using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales, we measured the positions of these galaxies in three dimensions to map out the structure of the Universe. We then observe the same galaxies with many different telescope, taking in light at a number of different wavelengths. This allows us to measure many physical properties of the galaxies such as how many stars they have, how many new stars they are forming and how they are interacting with each other. I am a core member of the GAMA team undertaking research on star-froamtion and galaxy interactions.

Below is a video showing the 3D map of the Universe that was produced by the GAMA team:

Fly through of the GAMA Galaxy Survey from ICRAR on Vimeo.

If you would like to learn more about the GAMA survey, see here.

Overview for Astronomers

GAMA is a project to exploit the latest generation of ground-based and space-borne survey facilities to study cosmology and galaxy formation and evolution.

At the heart of this project lies the GAMA spectroscopic survey of ~300,000 galaxies down to r < 19.8 mag over ~286 deg2, carried out using the AAOmega multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) by the GAMA team. This project was awarded 210 nights over 7 years (2008–2014) and the observations are now completed. This survey builds on, and is augmented by, previous spectroscopic surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS) and the Millennium Galaxy Catalogue (MGC).

On the imaging side, GAMA uses public data as well as conducting its own campaigns. In addition, the GAMA team has coordinated survey regions and negotiated data sharing agreements with a number of independent imaging survey teams:

Facility Survey
Public surveys: Sloan Foundation 2.5m SDSS
United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) UKIDSS-LAS
GAMA campaigns: Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) GALEX-GAMA
Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) GMRT-GAMA
Surveys connected to GAMA: VLT Survey Telescope (VST) KiDS
Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) VIKING
Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) CFHTLenS
Herschel Space Observatory H-ATLAS
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) DINGO
X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) XMM-XXL
Wide field Infra-red Survey Explorer (WISE)

The main objective of GAMA is to study structure on scales of 1 kpc to 1 Mpc. This includes galaxy clusters, groups, mergers and coarse measurements of galaxy structure (i.e., bulges and discs). It is on these scales where baryons play a critical role in the galaxy formation and subsequent evolutionary processes and where our understanding of structure in the Universe breaks down.

Our primary goal is to test the CDM paradigm of structure formation. In particular, the key scientific objectives are:

    1. To test modified theories of gravity by measuring the growth rate of structure; the CDM model by measuring the halo mass function; and galaxy formation models by measuring the star formation efficiency in groups.
    2. To measure the connection between star formation fuelling, stellar mass build-up and feedback processes.
    3. To uncover the detailed mechanisms that govern the build-up of the stellar content of galaxies.
    4. To directly measure the recent galaxy merger rate as a function of mass, mass ratio, local environment and galaxy type.

To address these goals, GAMA is creating an extraordinary multi-wavelength photometric and spectroscopic dataset with outstanding value to both the large-scale structure and galaxy evolution communities. By virtue of its unrivaled combination of area, spectroscopic depth, high spatial resolution and broad wavelength coverage the GAMA dataset will be uniquely capable of advancing low and intermediate-redshift galaxy studies.

More details on GAMA and its science case can be found in our proposals (2007, 2010) and in this article.

The following table provides an overview of the GAMA survey regions.

Region RA range Dec range Main survey limit
G02 30.2  –  38.8 −10.25  –  −3.72 r  <  19.8
G09 129.0  –  141.0 −2  –  +3 r  <  19.8
G12 174.0  –  186.0 −3  –  +2 r  <  19.8
G15 211.5  –  223.5 −2  –  +3 r  <  19.8
G23 339.0  –  351.0 −35  –  −30 i  <  19.2
Adventure is out there!

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