At present, our understanding of the formation history of the MW is limited due to the complexity of observing the imprints of accretion events and of reproducing them in numerical simulations. Moreover, though being the only galaxy, in which the Galactic potential can be probed in detail, the distribution of mass in the MW, and hence of the dark matter, is poorly constraint, especially at large distances. In addition, the MW is not isolated, and it has recently been suggested that the infall of the LMC can induce a perturbation in the stellar and dark matter distribution of the MW. As a consequence, the details of the formation history of our Galaxy are still unknown, such as the number of accretion events, the mass of the accreted galaxies, and the epoch of these events. Yet this information is crucial to understand our environment and to constrain the theoretical models and simulations that try to reproduce it.
One of the major challenges of the field is that a tremendous number of multi-aspect (astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic) observations at significant depth is required to study the morphology, the kinematics and the chemistry of the outskirts of our Galaxy, where are located the signatures of these events. Hopefully, the advent of recent and incoming complementary large surveys, such as the European Gaia mission, UNIONS (Ultraviolet Near Infrared Optical Northern Survey), Pristine, Pan-STARRS (PS), WEAVE or LSST (Legacy Survey of Space and Time), is offering a new global point of view on our Galaxy’s halo, allowing us to precisely probe the Galactic potential our the MW, and to retrace itsaccretion history.
In this talk I will present recent works that have been conducted to better catarerized our Galaxy and its history with some of the existing surveys mentioned above. In addition, I will present the major improvement that will bring this new generation of large, multi-aspect surveys, to study both our Galactic history, as well as the fundamental nature of the dark matter.