The Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral-field spectrograph (SAMI) puts 13 fused hexabundles, each containing 61 fibres, across a square-degree field of view. By performing a wide-field survey of 5000 galaxies, SAMI will provide a comprehensive spatially-resolved view of galaxy evolution.
The overwhelming difficulty in understanding galaxy formation is the complexity of baryonic physics, with multi-phase gas, star formation, dust, supernovae, super-massive black holes etc. all influencing the outcome of the galaxy formation process. The multi-parameter nature of galaxy formation has meant that much progress has been made over the last decade by conducting massively multiplexed surveys, allowing samples of up to one million galaxies to be constructed. These have, in turn, allowed detailed statistical analyses to be made, where the correlation between the multitudes of physical parameters can be studied.
What is lacking to address many of the most pressing current issues in galaxy evolution studies are surveys of similar scale, but yielding spatially resolved maps of galaxy emission. Such samples have the potential to profoundly impact the field of galaxy formation by addressing the physical processes at work.
The SAMI project aims to make the first massively multiplexed spatially resolved survey of galaxies to address the above issues. This will make use of the new Sydney-AAO MOS IFU (SAMI) instrument that is about to be commissioned on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. This system allows integral field observations to be made of 13 galaxies at once and will allow the construction of samples an order of magnitude larger than previously possible. The SAMI instrument has been built through collaboration between University of Sydney and the Australian Astronomical Observatory.
|A galactic wind in Galaxy ESO 185-G031 observed with SAMI (circle = SAMI hexabundle footprint).