The second generation of the Apache Point Observatory Galaxy Evolution Experiment (APOGEE-2) observes the “archaeological” record embedded in hundreds of thousands of stars to explore the assembly history and evolution of the Milky Way. In essence, the details as to how the Galaxy evolved are preserved today in the motions and chemical compositions of its stars. APOGEE-2 maps the dynamical and chemical patterns of Milky Way stars with data from the 2.5-meter Sloan Foundation Telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico (APOGEE-2N), and the 2.5-meter du Pont Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile (APOGEE-2S).
Key Science Questions
- What is the history of star formation and chemical enrichment of the Milky Way?
- What are the dynamics of the disk, bulge, and halo of the Milky Way?
- What is the age distribution of stars in the Milky Way?
- Do planet-hosting stars have different properties than stars that have no planets?
To answer the above science questions, APOGEE-2 relies upon the spectroscopy of stars taken at near-infrared wavelengths, which can penetrate regions obscured by interstellar dust. The APOGEE-2 spectral data provide a comprehensive view of (1) the distributions of elemental abundances in Galactic stars and (2) the dynamical motions of stars at various locations throughout the Milky Way. A primer on spectroscopy, especially in the near-infrared, as well some background on the Milky Way Galaxy can be found here.
APOGEE-1 observed primarily red giant stars distributed across several kiloparsecs of the Milky Way disk. APOGEE-2 continues to focus on observations of giant stars and with the Southern hemisphere component, extends into previously unreachable parts of the disk. APOGEE also acquires spectra of young stars and star-forming regions, variable stars, stars in clusters and satellite galaxies, and stars with asteroseismic measurements. See the targeting page for more details.
APOGEE-2 Technical Details
- Bright-time observations at APO and LCO
- Duration: Fall 2014 – Fall 2020
- Fiber Complement: 300 fibers per 7 deg2 plate (APO) or 3.5 deg2 plate (LCO)
- Wavelength Range: 1.51-1.70 μm
- Spectral Resolution: R~22,500
- Sample Size: 300,000 stars
- Signal-to-Noise Goal: S/N > 100
- Radial Velocity Precision: ~200 m/s
- Element Abundance Precision: ~0.1 dex for 20 species
- Principal Investigator
- Steve Majewski (UVa)
- Survey Scientist
- Jon Holtzman (NMSU)
- Project Managers
- Previouly: Fred Hearty (Penn State), Current: Jennifer Sobeck (UW)
- Instrument Scientist
- John Wilson (UVa)
- Pipeline Coordinator
- Matt Shetrone (McDonald Observatory)
- Target Selection Coordinators
- North: Ryan J. Oelkers (Vanderbilt); South: Roger Cohen (STScI); Special Targets & External Programs: Kevin Covey
- Survey Operations Scientists
- North: Nathan De Lee (Northern Kentucky University); South: Penélope Longa-Peña (Universidad de Antofagasta)
- LCO Operations Manager
- Christian Nitschelm (Universidad de Antofagasta)
- There is also a large team of other people who work to develop pipelines, improve targeting strategies, maintain the instrument, and document the data, among many other tasks.