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  1. ABSTRACT

    We investigate the formation (spin-up) of galactic discs in the artemis simulations of Milky Way (MW)-mass galaxies. In almost all galaxies, discs spin up at higher [Fe/H] than the MW. Those galaxies that contain an analogue of the Gaia Sausage-Enceladus (GSE) spin up at a lower average metallicity than those without. We identify six galaxies with spin-up metallicity similar to that of the MW, which formed their discs ∼8–11 Gyr ago. Five of these experience a merger similar to the GSE. The spin-up times correlate with the halo masses at early times: galaxies with early spin-up have larger virial masses at a lookback time tL = 12 Gyr. The fraction of stars accreted from outside the host galaxy is smaller in galaxies with earlier spin-ups. Accreted fractions small enough to be comparable to the MW are only found in galaxies with the earliest disc formation and large initial virial masses (M200c ≈ 2 × 1011 M⊙ at tL = 12 Gyr). We find that discs form when the halo’s virial mass reaches a threshold of M200c ≈ (6 ± 3) × 1011 M⊙, independent of the spin-up time. However, the failure to form a disc in other galaxies appears to be instead related to mergers at early times. We also find that discs form when the central potential is not particularly steep. Our results indicate that the MW assembled its mass and formed its disc earlier than the average galaxy of a similar mass.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    Anomalously high nitrogen-to-oxygen abundance ratios [N/O] are observed in globular clusters (GCs), among the field stars of the Milky Way (MW), and even in the gas in a z ≈ 11 galaxy. Using data from the APOGEE Data Release 17 and the Gaia Data Release 3, we present several independent lines of evidence that most of the MW’s high-[N/O] stars were born in situ in massive bound clusters during the early, pre-disc evolution of the Galaxy. Specifically, we show that distributions of metallicity [Fe/H], energy, the angular momentum Lz, and distance of the low-metallicity high-[N/O] stars match the corresponding distributions of stars of the Aurora population and of the in situ GCs. We also show that the fraction of in situ field high-[N/O] stars, fN/O, increases rapidly with decreasing metallicity. During epochs when metallicity evolves from $\rm [Fe/H]=-1.5$ to $\rm [Fe/H]=-0.9$, the Galaxy spins up and transitions from a turbulent Aurora state to a coherently rotating disc. This transformation is accompanied by many qualitative changes. In particular, we show that high N/O abundances similar to those observed in GN-z11 were common before the spin-up ($\rm [Fe/H]\lesssim -1.5$) when up to $\approx 50~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}-70~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the in situ stars formed in massive bound clusters. The dramatic drop of fN/O at $\rm [Fe/H]\gtrsim -0.9$ indicates that after the disc emerges the fraction of stars forming in massive bound clusters decreases by two orders of magnitude.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    We present Magellan/M2FS spectroscopy of four recently discovered Milky Way star clusters (Gran 3/Patchick 125, Gran 4, Garro 01, and LP 866) and two newly discovered open clusters (Gaia 9 and Gaia 10) at low Galactic latitudes. We measure line-of-sight velocities and stellar parameters ([Fe/H], log g, Teff, and [Mg/Fe]) from high-resolution spectroscopy centred on the Mg triplet and identify 20–80 members per star cluster. We determine the kinematics and chemical properties of each cluster and measure the systemic proper motion and orbital properties by utilizing Gaia astrometry. We find Gran 3 to be an old, metal-poor (mean metallicity of [Fe/H] = −1.83) globular cluster located in the Galactic bulge on a retrograde orbit. Gran 4 is an old, metal-poor ([Fe/H] = −1.84) globular cluster with a halo-like orbit that happens to be passing through the Galactic plane. The orbital properties of Gran 4 are consistent with the proposed LMS-1/Wukong and/or Helmi streams merger events. Garro 01 is metal-rich ([Fe/H] = −0.30) and on a near-circular orbit in the outer disc but its classification as an open cluster or globular cluster is ambiguous. Gaia 9 and Gaia 10 are among the most distant known open clusters at $R_{\mathrm{GC}}\sim 18,~21.2~\mathrm{\, kpc}$ and most metal-poor with [Fe/H] ∼−0.50, −0.34 for Gaia 9 and Gaia 10, respectively. LP 866 is a nearby, metal-rich open cluster ([Fe/H] = +0.10). The discovery and confirmation of multiple star clusters in the Galactic plane shows the power of Gaia astrometry and the star cluster census remains incomplete.

     
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  4. Abstract

    We report the results of an unsupervised decomposition of the local stellar halo in the chemodynamical space spanned by the abundance measurements from APOGEE DR17 and GALAH DR3. In our Gaussian mixture model, only four independent components dominate the halo in the solar neighborhood, three previously known, Aurora, Splash, and Gaia-Sausage/Enceladus (GS/E), and one new, Eos. Only one of these four is of accreted origin, namely, the GS/E, thus supporting the earlier claims that the GS/E is the main progenitor of the Galactic stellar halo. We show that Aurora is entirely consistent with the chemical properties of the so-called Heracles merger. In our analysis in which no predefined chemical selection cuts are applied, Aurora spans a wide range of [Al/Fe] with a metallicity correlation indicative of a fast chemical enrichment in a massive galaxy, the young Milky Way. The new halo component dubbed Eos is classified as in situ given its high mean [Al/Fe]. Eos shows strong evolution as a function of [Fe/H], where it changes from being the closest to GS/E at its lowest [Fe/H] to being indistinguishable from the Galactic low-αpopulation at its highest [Fe/H]. We surmise that at least some of the outer thin disk of the Galaxy started its evolution in the gas polluted by the GS/E, and Eos is evidence of this process.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Stellar streams in the Galactic halo are useful probes of the assembly of galaxies like the Milky Way. Many tidal stellar streams that have been found in recent years are accompanied by a known progenitor globular cluster or dwarf galaxy. However, the Orphan–Chenab (OC) stream is one case where a relatively narrow stream of stars has been found without a known progenitor. In an effort to find the parent of the OC stream, we use astrometry from the early third data release of ESA’s Gaia mission (Gaia EDR3) and radial velocity information from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)-IV Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey to find up to 13 stars that are likely members of the OC stream. We use the APOGEE survey to study the chemical nature (for up to 10 stars) of the OC stream in theα(O, Mg, Ca, Si, Ti, and S), odd-Z(Al, K, and V), Fe-peak (Fe, Ni, Mn, Co, and Cr), and neutron-capture (Ce) elemental groups. We find that the stars that make up the OC stream are not consistent with a monometallic population and have a median metallicity of −1.92 dex with a dispersion of 0.28 dex. Our results also indicate that the α elements are depleted compared to the known Milky Way populations and that its [Mg/Al] abundance ratio is not consistent with second-generation stars from globular clusters. The detailed chemical pattern of these stars, namely the [α/Fe]–[Fe/H] plane and the metallicity distribution, indicates that the OC stream progenitor is very likely to be a dwarf spheroidal galaxy with a mass of ∼106M.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    We use accurate estimates of aluminium abundance from the APOGEE Data Release 17 and Gaia Early Data Release 3 astrometry to select a highly pure sample of stars with metallicity −1.5 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ 0.5 born in-situ in the Milky Way proper. The low-metallicity ([Fe/H]  ≲ −1.3) in-situ component we dub Aurora is kinematically hot with an approximately isotropic velocity ellipsoid and a modest net rotation. Aurora stars exhibit large scatter in metallicity and in many element abundance ratios. The median tangential velocity of the in-situ stars increases sharply with metallicity between [Fe/H] = −1.3 and −0.9, the transition that we call the spin-up. The observed and theoretically expected age–metallicity correlations imply that this increase reflects a rapid formation of the MW disc over ≈1–2 Gyr. The transformation of the stellar kinematics as a function of [Fe/H] is accompanied by a qualitative change in chemical abundances: the scatter drops sharply once the Galaxy builds up a disc during later epochs corresponding to [Fe/H] > −0.9. Results of galaxy formation models presented in this and other recent studies strongly indicate that the trends observed in the MW reflect generic processes during the early evolution of progenitors of MW-sized galaxies: a period of chaotic pre-disc evolution, when gas is accreted along cold narrow filaments and when stars are born in irregular configurations, and subsequent rapid disc formation. The latter signals formation of a stable hot gaseous halo around the MW progenitor, which changes the mode of gas accretion and allows development of coherently rotating disc.

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    Gaia provided the largest ever catalogue of white dwarf stars. We use this catalogue, along with the third public data release of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), to identify new eclipsing white dwarf binaries. Our method exploits light-curve statistics and the box least-squares algorithm to detect periodic light-curve variability. The search revealed 18 new binaries, of which 17 are eclipsing. We use the position in the Gaia H-R diagram to classify these binaries and find that the majority of these white dwarfs have MS companions. We identify one system as a candidate eclipsing white dwarf–brown dwarf binary and a further two as extremely low-mass white dwarf binaries. We also provide identification spectroscopy for 17 of our 18 binaries. Running our search method on mock light curves with real ZTF sampling, we estimate our efficiency of detecting objects with light curves similar to the ones of the newly discovered binaries. Many more binaries are to be found in the ZTF footprint as the data releases grow, so our survey is ongoing.

     
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  8. Abstract Most binaries are undetected. Astrometric reductions of a system using the assumption that the object moves like a single point mass can be biased by unresolved binary stars. The discrepancy between the centre of mass of the system (which moves like a point mass) and the centre of light (which is what we observe) introduces additional motion. We explore the extent to which binary systems affect single object models fit to astrometric data. This tells us how observations are diluted by binaries and which systems cause the largest discrepancies - but also allows us to make inferences about the binarity of populations based on observed astrometric error. By examining a sample of mock observations, we show that binaries with periods close to one year can mimic parallax and thus bias distance measurements, whilst long period binaries can introduce significant apparent proper motion. Whilst these changes can soak up some of the error introduced by the binary, the total deviation from the best fitting model can be translated into a lower limit on the on-sky separation of the pair. Throughout we link these predictions to data from the Gaia satellite, whilst leaving the conclusions generalizable to other surveys. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Deciphering the distribution of metals throughout galaxies is fundamental in our understanding of galaxy evolution. Nearby, low-metallicity, star-forming dwarf galaxies, in particular, can offer detailed insight into the metal-dependent processes that may have occurred within galaxies in the early Universe. Here, we present VLT/MUSE observations of one such system, JKB 18, a blue diffuse dwarf galaxy with a metallicity of only 12 + log(O/H)=7.6 ± 0.2 (∼0.08 Z⊙). Using high spatial resolution integral-field spectroscopy of the entire system, we calculate chemical abundances for individual H ii regions using the direct method and derive oxygen abundance maps using strong-line metallicity diagnostics. With large-scale dispersions in O/H, N/H, and N/O of ∼0.5–0.6 dex and regions harbouring chemical abundances outside this 1σ distribution, we deem JKB 18 to be chemically inhomogeneous. We explore this finding in the context of other chemically inhomogeneous dwarf galaxies and conclude that neither the accretion of metal-poor gas, short mixing time-scales or self-enrichment from Wolf–Rayet stars are accountable. Using a galaxy-scale, multiphase, hydrodynamical simulation of a low-mass dwarf galaxy, we find that chemical inhomogeneities of this level may be attributable to the removal of gas via supernovae and the specific timing of the observations with respect to star formation activity. This study not only draws attention to the fact that dwarf galaxies can be chemically inhomogeneous, but also that the methods used in the assessment of this characteristic can be subject to bias. 
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