Participation in the Gaia Scientific Networks

Several networks have been organized at national and international level to get ready for the challenges Gaia will bring to the scientific community.

GREAT (Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training) is an European science driven research infrastructure which facilitates, through focused interaction on a European scale, the fullest exploitation of the Gaia mission, enabling the European astronomy community to provide answers to the key challenges in our understanding of the Galaxy and Universe. GREAT is the programme which brings together relevant scientific expertise by promoting topical workshops, training events, exchange visits, conferences and so forth with the aim of addressing the major scientific issues that the Gaia satellite will impact upon.

These key topic areas are:
• Origin, structure, and evolution of the Milky Way
• Stellar astrophysics
• Galactic Dynamics
• Galactic Archaeology
• Star Formation and evolution
• Fundamental physics and the Reference Frame
• Extrasolar planets
• Binary Stars
• The Solar system
• The IT Data Challenge from Gaia

GREAT provides support through the European Science Foundation (GREAT ESF) Research Networking Programme for a wide range of community proposed events covering the key objective areas of the programme, largely focussed on gaining a deeper understanding of our Milky Way. This programme runs Feb 2010 to Aug 2015. The Spanish delegate of the GREAT-ESF is Carme Jordi.

In addition the related GREAT ITN (Initial Training Network) programme is supported by the EC through its FP7 Marie Curie programme under grant agreement 264895. GREAT-ITN (Apr 2011 – Aug 2015), born from the success of ELSA (2006-2010), also a Marie Curie RTN, is devoted to the training of young scientist. Francesca Figueras is the coordinator of the Barcelona node, and Hoda Abedi and Max Palmer were developed their PhD under this programme as ESR (early stage researchers).

The Spanish Network for Scientific Exploitation of Gaia (REG) created in 2010 under our team initiative, groups 140 scientists from 24 institutes. This network open to the Spanish astronomical community aims to promote the interchange among astronomers in all those research lines related to the scientific exploitation of the data that Gaia will provide. There are 12 working groups coordinated with the GREAT working groups. The network meets at least once a year in plenary and parallel sessions.

Our team also participates in the Gaia ESO Survey (GES), a collaborative observational project born in the framework of the GREAT network. The public spectroscopic survey was granted with 300 nights in 3 years. Its aim is to acquire high.resolution spectra with FLAMES and GIRAFFE instruments at VLT to derive precise radial velocities and detailed chemical abundances for those stars Gaia will not do.

For those clusters that cannot be observed by the GES, including the oldest, the most metal-rich and a few anticentre Open Clusters, our group develops a project in collaboration with the IAC, OABo (Italy) and OCA (France), the Open Clusters Chemical Abundances from Spanish Observatories (2013-2015). The OCASSO project aims to determine homogeneous abundances for more tha 20 chemical species for red clump stars in a sample of 25 Northern open clusters older than 0.5 Gyr. These objects cover wide ranges of ages, metallicities, heights above the plane, and Galactocentric distances.. We have been awarded 5 nights per semester (2013 – 2015) and telescope (FIES/NOT and HERMES/Mercator). These data will allow us to properly analyse the existence of trends in the Galactic disk. For the sake of homogeneity, we will replicate the GES observational strategy and data analysis. This will allow us to double the total number of Open Clusters sampled by GES.