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SkyMapper Protected Science Project

The Stromlo Milky Way Satellite Survey

Helmut Jerjen (RSAA), Gary Da Costa (RSAA), John Norris (RSAA), Antonino Milone (RSAA), Dongwon Kim (RSAA), Martin Asplund (RSAA), Anna Frebel (CfA), Marla Geha (Yale), Andres Jordan (Catolica), Renee Kraan-Korteweg (UCT), Pavel Kroupa (Bonn), Mario Mateo (Michigan), Se-Heon Oh (UCT), Ed Olszewski (Arizona), Patrick Tisserand (IAP), Matthew Walker (Cambridge), Shane Walsh (Curtin), Beth Willman (Haverford), Manuela Zoccali (Catolica)

Our team will pursue the search for optically elusive, dark matter-dominated satellite galaxies and other stellar overdensities in the halo of the Milky Way. We employ our own, highly efficient data-mining algorithms to scrutinise Terabyte size imaging sets that are flowing from the SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey. Newly discovered stellar systems will be systematically analysed by means of deep follow-up observations (imaging and spectroscopy) with telescope facilities worldwide. Fundamental properties are determined including spatial coordinates, size, stellar and dark matter contents, star density and presence of extra-tidal stars. Chemical abundance measurements of the stellar populations are compared with our team's latest results on Galactic halo stars, the multi-populations in globular clusters and galaxy formation models. The physical parameters we derive for Milky Way satellite galaxies represent important empirical input to constrain the process of galaxy formation on small (satellites) and large (Milky Way) scales. At the later stage of the program they will enable us to conduct a comparative statistical study for testing key predictions of the currently best theoretical model for structure formation and evolution in the universe. These research activities will be the most comprehensive in the Southern hemisphere and highly competitive to ongoing US-lead studies with Pan-STARRS and the Dark Energy Survey, both probing only half of the southern sky.