Q. Daniel Wang (Astronomy Department, University of Massachusetts, MA, USA)
The galactic neighborhood, extending from the Milky Way to redshifts of about 0.1, is our unique local laboratory for detailed study of galaxies and their interplay with the environment. Such study provides a foundation of knowledge for interpreting observations of more distant galaxies and their environment. The Astro 2010 Science Frontier Galactic Neighborhood Panel identified four key scientific questions: 1) What are the flows of matter and energy in the circumgalactic medium? 2) What controls the mass-energy-chemical cycles within galaxies? 3) What is the fossil record of galaxy assembly from first stars to present? 4) What are the connections between dark and luminous matter? These questions, essential to the understanding of galaxies as interconnected complexes, can be addressed most effectively and/or uniquely in the galactic neighborhood. The panel also highlighted the discovery potential of time-domain astronomy and astrometry with powerful new techniques and facilities to greatly advance our understanding of the precise connections among stars, galaxies, and newly discovered transient events. The relevant needs for laboratory astrophysics will be emphasized, especially in the context of supporting NASA missions.
Complete preprint===> http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.0533