NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0429

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0429


PI: Douglas P. Finkbeiner, Harvard/CfA, dfinkbeiner@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 60 Garden Street MS-51, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Edward F. Schlafly, Max Planck Institut fur Astronomie
CoI: David L. Burke, Stanford/SLAC
CoI: Keith Bechtol, University of Chicago/KICP
CoI: Patrick Kelly, UC Berkeley

Title: Mapping Dust in 3D with DECam: A Pilot Galactic Plane Survey

Abstract: We propose to survey the southern Galactic plane in order to determine the three-dimensional distribution of stars, gas, and especially dust in the Milky Way. While the total column of dust through the Galaxy can be estimated by emission-based methods (e.g. Schlegel, Finkbeiner and Davis 1998), the 3D distribution of dust must be determined by measurements of the reddening and distance to stars embedded in the dust. We propose a 3-dither strategy with sufficient exposure to see main-sequence turnoff stars at 10 kpc through a dust column of E(B - V)=1.5 mag. Our preliminary study with PanSTARRS-1 demonstrates that grizy photometry is satisfactory to create accurate three-dimensional dust maps in the Galactic plane. The proposed survey would extend these maps over area inaccessible from the north, and go deeper than PanSTARRS. Moreover, the survey would be a valuable legacy data set for studies of Galactic structure and stellar populations, providing, together with PanSTARRS-1, five-band imaging of the entire Galactic plane. The survey is a pilot project for an eventual survey of a larger part of the (delta) < -30 sky.


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