The Milky Way and its environment:
gaining insights into the drivers of galaxy formation and evolution

will take place at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
in Paris, France 19-23 September  2016.

Group Picture!

Group Picture!  

Scientific Rationale

PosterThe level of detail we can attain through the study of individual stars, the interstellar medium, the birth places of stars, and the properties of dark matter in the Milky Way and its halo scale environment is such that we can begin to quantitatively constrain many of our ideas about the formation and evolution of our Galaxy and the Local Group. However, to take advantage of the information we gain from those studies, we must view it from a different vantage point.

That is, we must view the Milky Way and its environment within the general context of galaxies and our theoretical and model understanding of how galaxies grow and evolve within the current cosmological framework. The more so, since our Galaxy appears to be a "typical" spiral in many ways: its total stellar mass is similar to that of the fiducial break mass in the galaxy mass function; during the peak of the star formation rate density, a large fraction of all stars formed in MW-progenitor massed galaxies; the structural components of the MW appear similar to other nearby spiral galaxies; the star formation history of the MW appears similar to galaxies of similar mass in the local universe; it's environmental density, number, and type of satellite galaxies appears pretty typical for its total stellar mass. In short, it appears that the MW can tell us a great deal about the evolutionary processes common to all galaxies.

Given how much detail we can obtain about the Milky Way, the fact that we are now at the dawn of the GAIA era, and that studying analogs of the MW in the distant universe is rapidly reaching maturity, now is the time to bring experts together from three often disjoint astrophysical communities – observers and theoreticians who focus on the MW and nearby galaxies, observers who study the physical properties of MW progenitors in the early universe, and modelers and theoretician who study galaxy formation and evolution focusing on the evolution of spiral galaxies. Our goal is not to determine whether the MW is a typical galaxy for its mass but to generalize what we know about the MW within the broader context of the underlying physical drivers of galaxy evolution.


  • P. Bonnifacio
  • P. Di Matteo
  • E. D'Onghia
  • Y. Dubois
  • S. Feltzing
  • M. Haywood
  • M. Lehnert
  • F. Matteucci
  • A. Pasquali
  • S. Peirani
  • N. Prantzos
  • A. Robin
  • L. Sbordone
  • D. Valls-Gabaud


  • Y. Dubois
  • M. Lehnert
  • J. Mouette
  • S. Peirani
  • N. Prantzos
  • L. Provost
  • S. Tep

Last updated: 5th September 2016