Taipan is a multi-object spectroscopic galaxy survey starting in 2017 that
will cover 2pi steradians over the southern sky, and obtain optical spectra for
about two million galaxies out to z<0.4. Taipan will use the newly-refurbished
1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN
instrument, which includes an innovative 'Starbugs' positioning system capable
of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up
to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6-deg diameter focal plane, and a
purpose-built spectrograph operating from 370 to 870nm with resolving power
R>2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are: (i) to measure the distance
scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H_0) to
1% precision, and the structure growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make
the most extensive map yet constructed of the mass distribution and motions in
the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental
Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics;
and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique
laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of mass and environment.
The final survey, which will be completed within 5 years, will consist of a
complete magnitude-limited sample (i<17) of about 1.2x10^6 galaxies,
supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes
(i<18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8x10^6 galaxies.
Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a
fully-automated way, using a purpose-built automated 'virtual observer'
software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is
deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value, by complementing and
enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from
the optical to the radio.