CALIFA, the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area survey

Abstract: The Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area Survey (CALIFA) is observing a statistically well-defined sample of ~600 galaxies in the local universe using 250 observing nights with the PMAS/PPAK integral field spectrophotometer, mounted on the Calar Alto 3.5 m telescope. This survey will provide the largest and most comprehensive wide-field IFU survey of galaxies carried out to date, addressing fundamental issues in galaxy evolution. The two-dimensional spectral maps obtained for a large and well-defined sample will allow to 1) extend the kinematic classification of galaxies over the whole Hubble sequence using a homogeneous dataset, 2) study the ISM over entire galaxies and a large sample, which will yield new insights on the importance of AGN, star formation, shocks and old stars as ionization sources, 3) study stellar populations in the outskirts of disk galaxies to assess the importance of star formation vs. radial migration, 4) provide accurate aperture corrections for the much large single-fiber surveys, such as SDSS, 5) derive stellar population gradients in age and metallicity to constrain the formation mechanisms of early- and late-type galaxies alike. With nearly 700 objects observed so far and close to the 3rd and final DATA RELEASE (DR3), I will review the basic technical aspects and the science highlights of the survey.