The COMBS Survey - II. Distinguishing the metal-poor bulge from the halo interlopers
ABSTRACT The metal-poor stars in the bulge are important relics of the Milky Way’s formation history, as simulations predict that they are some of the oldest stars in the Galaxy. In order to determine if they are truly ancient stars, we must understand their origins. Currently, it is unclear if the metal-poor stars in the bulge ([Fe/H] < −1 dex) are merely halo interlopers, a unique accreted population, part of the boxy/peanut-shaped bulge, or a classical bulge population. In this work, we use spectra from the VLT/FLAMES spectrograph to obtain metallicity estimates using the Ca-II triplet of 473 bulge stars (187 of which have [Fe/H] < −1 dex), targeted using SkyMapper photometry. We also use Gaia DR2 data to infer the Galactic positions and velocities along with orbital properties for 523 stars. We employ a probabilistic orbit analysis and find that about half of our sample has a >50 per cent probability of being bound to the bulge, and half are halo interlopers. We also see that the occurrence rate of halo interlopers increases steadily with decreasing metallicity across the full range of our sample (−3 < [Fe/H] < 0.5). Our examination of the kinematics of the confined compared to the unbound stars indicates more »
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10283039
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
501
Issue:
4
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
5981 to 5996
ISSN:
0035-8711
1. ABSTRACT The characteristics of the stellar populations in the Galactic bulge inform and constrain the Milky Way’s formation and evolution. The metal-poor population is particularly important in light of cosmological simulations, which predict that some of the oldest stars in the Galaxy now reside in its centre. The metal-poor bulge appears to consist of multiple stellar populations that require dynamical analyses to disentangle. In this work, we undertake a detailed chemodynamical study of the metal-poor stars in the inner Galaxy. Using R ∼ 20 000 VLT/GIRAFFE spectra of 319 metal-poor (−2.55 dex ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ 0.83 dex, with $\overline{\rm {[Fe/H]}}$ = −0.84 dex) stars, we perform stellar parameter analysis and report 12 elemental abundances (C, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Mn, Zn, Ba, and Ce) with precisions of ≈0.10 dex. Based on kinematic and spatial properties, we categorize the stars into four groups, associated with the following Galactic structures: the inner bulge, the outer bulge, the halo, and the disc. We find evidence that the inner and outer bulge population is more chemically complex (i.e. higher chemical dimensionality and less correlated abundances) than the halo population. This result suggests that the older bulge population was enriched by amore »
4. ABSTRACT In this work, we combine spectroscopic information from the SkyMapper survey for Extremely Metal-Poor stars and astrometry from Gaia DR2 to investigate the kinematics of a sample of 475 stars with a metallicity range of $-6.5 \le \rm [Fe/H] \le -2.05$ dex. Exploiting the action map, we identify 16 and 40 stars dynamically consistent with the Gaia Sausage and Gaia Sequoia accretion events, respectively. The most metal poor of these candidates have metallicities of $\rm [Fe/H]=-3.31\, \mathrm{ and }\, -3.74$, respectively, helping to define the low-metallicity tail of the progenitors involved in the accretion events. We also find, consistent with other studies, that ∼21 per cent of the sample have orbits that remain confined to within 3 kpc of the Galactic plane, that is, |Zmax| ≤ 3 kpc. Of particular interest is a subsample (∼11 per cent of the total) of low |Zmax| stars with low eccentricities and prograde motions. The lowest metallicity of these stars has [Fe/H] = –4.30 and the subsample is best interpreted as the very low-metallicity tail of the metal-weak thick disc population. The low |Zmax|, low eccentricity stars with retrograde orbits are likely accreted, while the low |Zmax|, high eccentricity pro- and retrograde stars are plausibly associated with the Gaiamore »