Galactic archaeology in the Milky Way: The stellar surveys that are changing the game

The Milky Way Galaxy is a prime place to study galaxy structure and evolution, since the Milky Way and its largest satellites are currently the only ones for which we can obtain detailed observations of the chemistry and kinematics of large numbers of individual stars. Our understanding of the formation and evolution of our Galaxy has been steadily increasing over the past decades, but we are about to enter a new era. Thanks to the ESA Gaia mission, and upcoming large-scale spectroscopic surveys such as WEAVE and 4MOST, we will soon have access to vast data sets of high quality photometry, astrometry, and spectroscopy for many millions of stars which will help to reveal intimate details of our Galaxy’s past like never before.
In this talk, I will discuss how metal-poor stars and galactic stellar substructure are important tracers of chemical evolution and the accretion history of our Galaxy, and how we are preparing to utilize the wealth of data from upcoming large-scale surveys to further Galactic archaeology studies. In particular, I will discuss searching for the most metal-poor stars, the perceived paucity of metal-poor globular clusters, and ongoing work using dimensionality reduction algorithms to identify new members of Milky Way star clusters and accreted halo structures.