Nearby probes of the distant halo of the Milky Way: sub-dwarf M stars

We have recently demonstrated a novel technique to recover sub-dwarf M stars from the combination of VISTA infra-red and SkyMapper photometry. Sub-dwarf M stars are stars that formed ~10-13 billion years ago in the early stages of formation of the Galaxy. Their motions tell us about the mechanism of galaxy formation. In this project, we seek to develop a large sample of objects to perform the first utilisation of these stars. The project can be explored at a number of levels: object detection and characterisation (which would involve learning how to perform photometry, use of SkyMapper data, the use of spectra from the ANU 2.3m telescope); to an understanding of the local Milky Way halo properties (for PhD)