The different components of our Galaxy are studied
at the Observatory of Padova, aiming at a comprehensive description
of the MW, and at understanding its formation and evolution.
One approach relies on the investigation of the chemical properties of the
halo and of the disk components, complemented by the detailed
study of Galactic Globular Clusters. This research includes basic
investigations, e.g. deriving accurate ages and metallicities for stars
and clusters, and understanding the role internal mixing processes by studying the
abundance anomalies, as well as the interpretation of the chemical trajectories followed by stars in the thick and thin disk.
In addition, the internal evolution of Globular Clusters is investigated with detailed studies of their multiple
sequences, when present.
A complementary approach for understanding the evolution of the Milky Way exploits the
populations synthesis method to derive the properties of the stellar
populations inhabiting the Milky Way from observed CMDs and 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.
Some researchers at the OAPd have a significant involvement in the GAIA project,
that will provide the phase space distribution and metallicity of more than
one billion stars. The contribution is mainly focused on the problem of
deriving the fundamental stellar parameters from the GAIA data.
Simulations of stellar counts in any position of the sky can be obtained
interactively with the TRILEGAL tool 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 a OAPd researcher is involved.
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.
Individual components of our Galaxy are investigated with specific projects
concerning the stellar population in the Bulge to determine its age and metallicity distribution, the search for extremely
metal poor stars in the Halo, and the spectrophotometric study of stars members
of young clusters. Additional researches include the reconstruction of
the global morphology of the MW from stellar counts, and the study of the
extinction law along anomalous sightlines to derive insights on the
properties of the dust in the galaxy.