skip to main content

Title: The Milky Way tomography with APOGEE: intrinsic density distribution and structure of mono-abundance populations
ABSTRACT

The spatial distribution of mono-abundance populations (MAPs, selected in [Fe/H] and [Mg/Fe]) reflect the chemical and structural evolution in a galaxy and impose strong constraints on galaxy formation models. In this paper, we use APOGEE data to derive the intrinsic density distribution of MAPs in the Milky Way, after carefully considering the survey selection function. We find that a single exponential profile is not a sufficient description of the Milky Way’s disc. Both the individual MAPs and the integrated disc exhibit a broken radial density distribution; densities are relatively constant with radius in the inner Galaxy and rapidly decrease beyond the break radius. We fit the intrinsic density distribution as a function of radius and vertical height with a 2D density model that considers both a broken radial profile and radial variation of scale height (i.e. flaring). There is a large variety of structural parameters between different MAPs, indicative of strong structure evolution of the Milky Way. One surprising result is that high-α MAPs show the strongest flaring. The young, solar-abundance MAPs present the shortest scale height and least flaring, suggesting recent and ongoing star formation confined to the disc plane. Finally we derive the intrinsic density distribution and more » corresponding structural parameters of the chemically defined thin and thick discs. The chemical thick and thin discs have local surface mass densities of 5.62 ± 0.08 and 15.69 ± 0.32 M⊙pc−2, respectively, suggesting a massive thick disc with a local surface mass density ratio between thick to thin disc of 36 per cent.

« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2009993
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10367203
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
513
Issue:
3
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 4130-4151
ISSN:
0035-8711
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We investigate the inner regions of the Milky Way using data from APOGEE and Gaia EDR3. Our inner Galactic sample has more than 26 500 stars within | X Gal |< 5 kpc, | Y Gal |< 3.5 kpc, | Z Gal |< 1 kpc, and we also carry out the analysis for a foreground-cleaned subsample of 8000 stars that is more representative of the bulge–bar populations. These samples allow us to build chemo-dynamical maps of the stellar populations with vastly improved detail. The inner Galaxy shows an apparent chemical bimodality in key abundance ratios [ α /Fe], [C/N], and [Mn/O], which probe different enrichment timescales, suggesting a star formation gap (quenching) between the high- and low- α populations. Using a joint analysis of the distributions of kinematics, metallicities, mean orbital radius, and chemical abundances, we can characterize the different populations coexisting in the innermost regions of the Galaxy for the first time. The chemo-kinematic data dissected on an eccentricity–| Z | max plane reveal the chemical and kinematic signatures of the bar, the thin inner disc, and an inner thick disc, and a broad metallicity population with large velocity dispersion indicative of a pressure-supported component. The interplay between thesemore »different populations is mapped onto the different metallicity distributions seen in the eccentricity–| Z | max diagram consistently with the mean orbital radius and V ϕ distributions. A clear metallicity gradient as a function of | Z | max is also found, which is consistent with the spatial overlapping of different populations. Additionally, we find and chemically and kinematically characterize a group of counter-rotating stars that could be the result of a gas-rich merger event or just the result of clumpy star formation during the earliest phases of the early disc that migrated into the bulge. Finally, based on 6D information, we assign stars a probability value of being on a bar orbit and find that most of the stars with large bar orbit probabilities come from the innermost 3 kpc, with a broad dispersion of metallicity. Even stars with a high probability of belonging to the bar show chemical bimodality in the [ α /Fe] versus [Fe/H] diagram. This suggests bar trapping to be an efficient mechanism, explaining why stars on bar orbits do not show a significant, distinct chemical abundance ratio signature.« less
  2. ABSTRACT

    Stellar radial migration plays an important role in reshaping a galaxy’s structure and the radial distribution of stellar population properties. In this work, we revisit reported observational evidence for radial migration and quantify its strength using the age–[Fe/H] distribution of stars across the Milky Way with APOGEE data. We find a broken age–[Fe/H] relation in the Galactic disc at r > 6 kpc, with a more pronounced break at larger radii. To quantify the strength of radial migration, we assume stars born at each radius have a unique age and metallicity, and then decompose the metallicity distribution function (MDF) of mono-age young populations into different Gaussian components that originated from various birth radii at rbirth < 13 kpc. We find that, at ages of 2 and 3 Gyr, roughly half the stars were formed within 1 kpc of their present radius, and very few stars (<5 per cent) were formed more than 4 kpc away from their present radius. These results suggest limited short-distance radial migration and inefficient long-distance migration in the Milky Way during the last 3 Gyr. In the very outer disc beyond 15 kpc, the observed age–[Fe/H] distribution is consistent with the prediction of pure radial migration from smaller radii, suggesting a migration origin ofmore »the very outer disc. We also estimate intrinsic metallicity gradients at ages of 2 and 3 Gyr of −0.061 and −0.063 dex kpc−1, respectively.

    « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    The detailed age-chemical abundance relations of stars measure time-dependent chemical evolution. These trends offer strong empirical constraints on nucleosynthetic processes, as well as the homogeneity of star-forming gas. Characterizing chemical abundances of stars across the Milky Way over time has been made possible very recently, thanks to surveys like Gaia, APOGEE, and Kepler. Studies of the low-α disc have shown that individual elements have unique age–abundance trends and the intrinsic dispersion around these relations is small. In this study, we examine and compare the age distribution of stars across both the high and low-α disc and quantify the intrinsic dispersion of 16 elements around their age–abundance relations at [Fe/H] = 0 using APOGEE DR16. We examine the age–metallicity relation and visualize the temporal and spatial distribution of disc stars in small chemical cells. We find: (1) the high-α disc has shallower age–abundance relations compared to the low-α disc, but similar median intrinsic dispersions of ∼0.03 dex; (2) turnover points in the age-[Fe/H] relations across radius for both the high- and low-α disc. The former constrains the mechanisms that set similar intrinsic dispersions, regardless of differences in the enrichment history, for stars in both disc, and the latter indicates the presence of radialmore »migration in both disc. Our study is accompanied by an age catalogue for 64 317 stars in APOGEE derived using the cannon with a median uncertainty of 1.5 Gyr (26 per cent; APO-CAN stars), and a red clump catalogue of 22 031 stars with a contamination rate of 2.7 per cent.

    « less
  4. ABSTRACT

    We present a 2D chemical evolution code applied to a Milky Way type Galaxy, incorporating the role of spiral arms in shaping azimuthal abundance variations, and confront the predicted behaviour with recent observations taken with integral field units. To the usual radial distribution of mass, we add the surface density of the spiral wave and study its effect on star formation and elemental abundances. We compute five different models: one with azimuthal symmetry which depends only on radius, while the other four are subjected to the effect of a spiral density wave. At early times, the imprint of the spiral density wave is carried by both the stellar and star formation surface densities; conversely, the elemental abundance pattern is less affected. At later epochs, however, differences among the models are diluted, becoming almost indistinguishable given current observational uncertainties. At the present time, the largest differences appear in the star formation rate and/or in the outer disc (R ≥ 18 kpc). The predicted azimuthal oxygen abundance patterns for t ≤ 2 Gyr are in reasonable agreement with recent observations obtained with VLT/MUSE for NGC 6754.

  5. ABSTRACT

    Stars born on near-circular orbits in spiral galaxies can subsequently migrate to different orbits due to interactions with non-axisymmetric disturbances within the disc such as bars or spiral arms. This paper extends the study of migration to examine the role of external influences using the example of the interaction of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy (Sgr) with the Milky Way (MW). We first make impulse approximation estimates to characterize the influence of Sgr disc passages. The tidal forcing from Sgr can produce changes in both guiding radius ΔRg and orbital eccentricity, as quantified by the maximum radial excursion ΔRmax. These changes follow a quadrupole-like pattern across the face of the disc, with amplitude increasing with Galactocentric radius. We next examine a collisionless N-body simulation of a Sgr-like satellite interacting with an MW-like galaxy and find that Sgr’s influence in the outer disc dominates the secular evolution of orbits between disc passages. Finally, we use the same simulation to explore possible observable signatures of Sgr-induced migration by painting the simulation with different age stellar populations. We find that following Sgr disc passages, the migration it induces manifests within an annulus as an approximate quadrupole in azimuthal metallicity variations (δ[Fe/H]), along withmore »systematic variations in orbital eccentricity, ΔRmax. These systematic variations can persist for several rotational periods. We conclude that this combination of signatures may be used to distinguish between the different migration mechanisms shaping the chemical abundance patterns of the MW’s thin disc.

    « less