What have we learned from large spectroscopic surveys?

Michael R. Blanton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    An essential use of stellar population synthesis methods is to interpret the observations of galaxies, to infer their star-formation and assembly histories. I describe here some of the uses of these techniques over the past few years, primarily in the context of local galaxy redshift surveys. For this purpose, such surveys have both advantages and disadvantages relative to higher signal-to-noise but smaller studies, which I discuss. After discussing general issues, I describe how the substantial model uncertainties impact the analysis of galaxy spectra. Then, I discuss the special case of elliptical galaxies, arguing that investigators have made interesting discoveries even in the absence of perfect (or even good) models. I then describe the desiderata for massive higher redshift surveys and the trade-offs that must be made between cosmological and galaxy-focused science, in qualitative terms.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)195-204
    Number of pages10
    JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
    Issue numberS262
    StatePublished - Aug 2009


    • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
    • Galaxies: statistics
    • Galaxies: stellar content

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'What have we learned from large spectroscopic surveys?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this