GAMACA: Observing astrophysics in action at high spatial resolution

The GAMACA (GAlaxy MApping at Calar Alto) survey will be carried out using the GAMAICA instrument (GAlaxy MApper Instrument at Calar Alto). The project is currently in the stage of a feasibility study, commissioned by the Calar Alto observatory (CAHA). 

The GAMAICA instrument will be optimized for effective imaging spectroscopy mapping of large areas of sky at high angular resolution. It is technologically simple and can therefore be built relatively quickly, with a low risk and relatively low budget. The GAMAICA instrument will have a unique combination of field of view and angular resolution in the northern hemisphere. The GAMACA survey will concentrate on two unique objects in the northern sky. The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the only galaxy of similar mass to the Milky Way that is close enough to resolve it on scales of a few pc. In M31 we will study the structures of star forming regions, diagnose the main drivers for galaxy winds, and characterize the chemo-dynamical history of M31 in unprecedented detail. The Virgo cluster is the closest galaxy cluster. Here we will study in detail the interaction between the hot intracluster medium within the cluster and the interstellar medium inside galaxies. Both M31 and the proposed sample of Virgo cluster galaxies possess ancillary data of high spatial resolution and sensitivity from very high energies down to radio wavelengths. The GAMACA project will have a world-wide appeal due to its ground-breaking science and its legacy value for the communities of astronomers already working on our two unique targets.