Welcome to the homepage of the ISSI Team “The Early Milky Way”!

We are an international team of experts working towards gaining a better understanding of the early evolution of the Milky Way.

Our home Galaxy is a unique place to study the early history of the Universe. By selecting stars that are almost fully devoid of heavy elements – and thus belong to the earliest generations of stars formed in the Universe – we can look far back in time. Studying these stars gives us precious information on the conditions in the early Galaxy, they track chemical as well as stellar evolution processes in ancient times, and they allow us to provide a detailed reconstruction of the build-up of our Milky Way galaxy.

Thanks to the Gaia satellite mission there is a revolution on-going in the study of dynamical complexity of our Galaxy. However, to fully understand the Galaxy and its history back to the earliest times, this needs to be supplemented with large studies of stellar chemical abundance patterns. This ISSI proposal is perfectly timed to bring together these two critical ingredients as it coincides with the emergence of multi-object spectrographs with massively multiplexing capabilities – in particular the WEAVE survey (first light in summer 2022).

Our ISSI team brings together the catalogue makers for these special targets in WEAVE with the spectroscopic analysis experts in this field, authorities on Gaia data exploration, and the experts in modelling the early history of the Milky Way. Together, we strive to capitalize on the Gaia-WEAVE treasure trove and make a significant leap in our understanding of the formation and early evolution of our own “home”: The Milky Way galaxy.