The RAVE Survey is a new multinational venture that aims to measure the radial velocities and metallicities of a very large number of stars in the solar neighbourhood.
The RAVE Phase I Survey will use 6dF on the AAO's UK Schmidt telescope to obtain far-red spectra of approximately 100,000 stars with 9°<1<12° by middle of 2005. This will act as a pilot project for the main survey, RAVE Phase II, which aims to measure up to 50 million stars between 2006 and 2010 using the UK Schmidt together with the northern hemisphere counterpart. In order to reach the target observing rate of 22,000 stars per night, both telescopes will need to be equipped with a new 2,250-fibre multi-object spectroscopy system call UKidna.
At present, only the initial stage of RAVE Phase I is funded, but there is every prospect that funding will be secured to complete the pilot programme and allow the consortium to progress to Phase II. Observations for the pilot survey began in April 2003.
RAVE has been designed from the outset with VO-compliance in mind. Part of the function of the pilot survey is to ensure that the methods and protocols for observing, data-reduction and data-handling are appropriate for the high data rates that will prevail during the main survey. It also allows the RAVE consortium to establish data and metadata formats suitable for VO, and significant work on this has already been carried out in conjunction with Aus-VO. It is expected that by the time of the first public release of RAVE data in middle of 2004, the survey will be fully VO-compliant.