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The kinematics of local thick discs do not support an accretion origin

Comerón, S, Salo, H, Knapen, JH and Peletier, RF (2019) The kinematics of local thick discs do not support an accretion origin. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 623. ISSN 0004-6361

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Open Access URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201833653 (Published version)


Thick discs are nearly ubiquitous components of the discs of present-day galaxies. It has been proposed that a fraction of their stars has been accreted. Here, we aim to find whether accretion of satellites is the main thick disc formation mechanism. To do so, we observed a sample of eight nearby edge-on galaxies with the MUSE integral field unit at the VLT. Six of the galaxies have a distinct thick disc. We derived thick disc velocities and velocity dispersions for the galaxies in our sample. We devise a formalism to estimate the fractions of retrograde material in the thick discs by using kinematical maps and thin/thick dis decompositions. None of the galaxies in our sample shows strong evidence for retrograde material at large distances from the centre. Including those found in the literature, there are seventeen thick discs with studied kinematics, with only one showing unambiguous signatures of retrograde material. Literature numerical studies of dynamical friction allow us to estimate that at the current cosmic time about one in six mergers for which the stars of the accreted galaxy ended in a thick disc were retrograde. This is in tension with the observed fraction of 1/17 of galaxies with a partly retrograde thick disc. We conclude that satellite accretion is not favoured by observations to be the main thick disk formation mechanism.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: EDP Sciences
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2019 10:15
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:41
DOI or ID number: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833653
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146
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