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The Relationship Between Mono-Abundance and Mono-Age Stellar Populations in the Milky Way Disk

Minchev, I and Steinmetz, M and Chiappini, C and Martig, M and Anders, F and Matijevic, G and de Jong, RS (2017) The Relationship Between Mono-Abundance and Mono-Age Stellar Populations in the Milky Way Disk. Astrophysical Journal, 834 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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Abstract

Studying the Milky Way disk structure using stars in narrow bins of [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] has recently been proposed as a powerful method to understand the Galactic thick and thin disk formation. It has been assumed so far that these mono-abundance populations (MAPs) are also coeval, or mono-age, populations. Here we study this relationship for a Milky Way chemodynamical model and show that equivalence between MAPs and mono-age populations exists only for the high-[α/Fe] tail, where the chemical evolution curves of different Galactic radii are far apart. At lower [α/Fe]-values an MAP is composed of stars with a range in ages, even for small observational uncertainties and a small MAP bin size. Due to the disk inside-out formation, for these MAPs younger stars are typically located at larger radii, which results in negative radial age gradients that can be as large as 2 Gyr kpc−1. Positive radial age gradients can result for MAPs at the lowest [α/Fe] and highest [Fe/H] end. Such variations with age prevent the simple interpretation of observations for which accurate ages are not available. Studying the variation with radius of the stellar surface density and scale height in our model, we find good agreement to recent analyses of the APOGEE red-clump (RC) sample when 1–4 Gyr old stars dominate (as expected for the RC). Our results suggest that the APOGEE data are consistent with a Milky Way model for which mono-age populations flare for all ages. We propose observational tests for the validity of our predictions and argue that using accurate age measurements, such as from asteroseismology, is crucial for putting constraints on Galactic formation and evolution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences, 0305 Organic Chemistry, 0306 Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural)
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society; IOP Publishing
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 09:03
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 09:03
DOI or Identification number: 10.3847/1538-4357/834/1/27
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7279

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