The metallicity distribution function of the Halo of the Milky way

Timothy C. Beers, Norbert Christlieb, John E. Norris, Michael S. Bessell, Ronald Wilhelm, Carlos Allende Prieto, Brian Yanny, Constance Rockosi, Heidi Jo Newberg, Silvia Rossi, Young Sun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We report on the distribution of metallicities, [Fe/H], for very metal-poor stars in the halo of the Galaxy. Although the primary information on the nature of the Metallicity Distribution Function (MDF) is obtained from the two major recent surveys for metal-poor stars, the HK survey of Beers and collaborators, and the Hamburg/ESO Survey of Christlieb and collaborators, we also discuss the MDF derived from the publicly available database of stellar spectra and photometry contained in the third data release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS DR-3). Even though the SDSS was not originally planned as a stellar survey, significant numbers of stars have been observed to date - DR-3 contains spectroscopy for over 70,000 stars, at least half of which are suitable for abundance determinations. There are as many very metal-poor ([Fe/H] < -2.0) stars in DR-3 as have been obtained from all previous survey efforts combined. We also discuss prospects for significant expansion of the list of metal-poor stars to be obtained from the recently funded extension of the SDSS, which includes the project SEGUE: Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS228
StatePublished - 2005


  • Astronomical data bases: surveys
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Stars: Population II
  • Stars: abundances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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