Vedant Chandra


Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian

GitHub Profile


My research is primarily centered around our home Galaxy, the Milky Way. What would a biography of our Galaxy look like? How has our Galaxy grown and evolved over time, and what does that teach us about other galaxies like our own? I seek answers to these questions primarily by designing and analyzing large stellar spectroscopic surveys, and extensively use theoretical and simulation-based predictions to interpret observational findings.

On this page I briefly summarize the major themes of my research, along with some representative publications that I’ve lead or co-lead. Projects on which I served as an advisor/mentor are highlighted with asterisks.

The Galactic Outskirts

The furthest stars in the Milky Way – to 100 kiloparsecs and beyond – hold a treasure trove of information about the recent accretion history of our Galaxy, including the outsize perturbations from the in-falling Magellanic Clouds. As a central part of my PhD, I designed and executed a tailor-made spectroscopic survey to obtain detailed measurements of hundreds of these distant stars, building an all-sky dataset to understand the outer galaxy.

A Ghost in Boötes: The Least-Luminous Disrupted Dwarf Galaxy

Distant Echoes of the Milky Way’s Last Major Merger

Discovery of the Magellanic Stellar Stream

The Evolution of the Milky Way

The Gaia space observatory has revolutionized our understanding of the Miky Way with 3D positions, velocities, and low-resolution spectroscopy of millions of stars. I have extensively worked on extracting scientific information from this rich dataset, and using its unprecedented size and fidelity to trace the formation history of our Galaxy.

Robust Data-driven Metallicities for 175 Million Stars from Gaia XP Spectra

The Poor Old Heart of the Milky Way

The Three-Phase Evolution of the Milky Way

The Via Project

The Via Project is an upcoming spectroscopic survey that will place twin high-resolution multi-object spectrographs on 6.5-meter telescopes covering both celestial hemispheres. I have played a central role in the Via project since it was first proposed, co-leading the science development and building software to simulate various aspects of the instrument and survey. I’m also involved in the opto-mechanical design of the ViaSpec instrument.

White Dwarf Stars

White dwarfs are compact stellar remnants left behind by all Sun-like stars. They are some of the best laboratories of general relativistic and quantum mechanical effects on macroscopic scales.

Computational tools for the spectroscopic analysis of white dwarfs

A Gravitational Redshift Measurement of the White Dwarf Mass-Radius Relation

Searching for Low-mass Population III Stars Disguised as White Dwarfs

A 99 minute Double-lined White Dwarf Binary from SDSS-V

The SN Ia runaway LP 398-9: detection of circumstellar material and surface rotation

*Discovery of a proto-white dwarf with a massive unseen companion

*Measuring the Mass–Radius Relation of White Dwarfs Using Wide Binaries