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    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.

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  2. Abstract

    We use time-resolved spectra from the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) to examine the distribution of radial velocity (RV) variations in 249 stars identified as members of the Sagittarius (Sgr) dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy by Hayes et al. We select Milky Way (MW) stars that have stellar parameters (log(g),Teff, and [Fe/H] ) similar to those of the Sagittarius members by means of a k-d tree of dimension 3. We find that the shape of the distribution of RV shifts in Sgr dSph stars is similar to that measured in their MW analogs, but the total fraction of RV variable stars in the Sgr dSph is larger by a factor of ∼2. After ruling out other explanations for this difference, we conclude that the fraction of close binaries in the Sgr dSph is intrinsically higher than in the MW. We discuss the implications of this result for the physical processes leading to the formation of close binaries in dwarf spheroidal and spiral galaxies.

  3. Abstract We present a search for close, unresolved companions in a subset of spatially resolved Gaia wide binaries containing main-sequence stars within 200 pc of the Sun, utilizing the APOGEE–Gaia Wide Binary Catalog. A catalog of 37 wide binaries was created by selecting pairs of stars with nearly identical Gaia positions, parallaxes, and proper motions, and then confirming candidates to be gravitationally-bound pairs using APOGEE radial velocities. We identify close, unresolved stellar and substellar candidate companions in these multiple systems using (1) the Gaia binary main-sequence and (2) observed periodic radial velocity variations in APOGEE measurements due to the influence of a close substellar-mass companion. The studied wide binary pairs reveal a total of four stellar-mass close companions in four different wide binaries, and four substellar-mass close companion candidates in two wide binaries. The latter are therefore quadruple systems, with one substellar mass companion orbiting each wide binary component in an S-type orbit. Taken at face value, these candidate systems represent an enhancement of an order of magnitude over the expected occurrence rate of ∼2 per cent of stars having substellar companions >2 MJup within ∼100 day orbits; we discuss implications and possible explanations for this result. Finally, we compare chemical differences between the componentsmore »of the wide binaries and the components of the candidate higher-order systems and find that any chemical influence or correlation due to the presence of close companions to wide binary stars is not discernible.« less
  4. Abstract We apply a novel statistical analysis to measurements of 16 elemental abundances in 34,410 Milky Way disk stars from the final data release (DR17) of APOGEE-2. Building on recent work, we fit median abundance ratio trends [X/Mg] versus [Mg/H] with a 2-process model, which decomposes abundance patterns into a “prompt” component tracing core-collapse supernovae and a “delayed” component tracing Type Ia supernovae. For each sample star, we fit the amplitudes of these two components, then compute the residuals Δ[X/H] from this two-parameter fit. The rms residuals range from ∼0.01–0.03 dex for the most precisely measured APOGEE abundances to ∼0.1 dex for Na, V, and Ce. The correlations of residuals reveal a complex underlying structure, including a correlated element group comprised of Ca, Na, Al, K, Cr, and Ce and a separate group comprised of Ni, V, Mn, and Co. Selecting stars poorly fit by the 2-process model reveals a rich variety of physical outliers and sometimes subtle measurement errors. Residual abundances allow for the comparison of populations controlled for differences in metallicity and [ α /Fe]. Relative to the main disk ( R = 3–13 kpc), we find nearly identical abundance patterns in the outer disk ( R =more »15–17 kpc), 0.05–0.2 dex depressions of multiple elements in LMC and Gaia Sausage/Enceladus stars, and wild deviations (0.4–1 dex) of multiple elements in ω Cen. The residual abundance analysis opens new opportunities for discovering chemically distinctive stars and stellar populations, for empirically constraining nucleosynthetic yields, and for testing chemical evolution models that include stochasticity in the production and redistribution of elements.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. ABSTRACT Recent evidence based on APOGEE data for stars within a few kpc of the Galactic Centre suggests that dissolved globular clusters (GCs) contribute significantly to the stellar mass budget of the inner halo. In this paper, we enquire into the origins of tracers of GC dissolution, N-rich stars, that are located in the inner 4 kpc of the Milky Way. From an analysis of the chemical compositions of these stars, we establish that about 30 per cent of the N-rich stars previously identified in the inner Galaxy may have an accreted origin. This result is confirmed by an analysis of the kinematic properties of our sample. The specific frequency of N-rich stars is quite large in the accreted population, exceeding that of its in situ counterparts by near an order of magnitude, in disagreement with predictions from numerical simulations. We hope that our numbers provide a useful test to models of GC formation and destruction.
  6. ABSTRACT Numerous studies of integrated starlight, stellar counts, and kinematics have confirmed that the Milky Way is a barred galaxy. However, far fewer studies have investigated the bar’s stellar population properties, which carry valuable independent information regarding the bar’s formation history. Here, we conduct a detailed analysis of chemical abundance distributions ([Fe/H] and [Mg/Fe]) in the on-bar and off-bar regions to study the azimuthal variation of star formation history (SFH) in the inner Galaxy. We find that the on-bar and off-bar stars at Galactocentric radii 3 kpc < rGC < 5 kpc have remarkably consistent [Fe/H] and [Mg/Fe] distribution functions and [Mg/Fe]–[Fe/H] relation, suggesting a common SFH shared by the long bar and the disc. In contrast, the bar and disc at smaller radii (2 kpc < rGC < 3 kpc) show noticeable differences, with relatively more very metal-rich ($\rm [Fe/H] \sim 0.4$) stars but fewer solar abundance stars in the bar. Given the three-phase star formation history proposed for the inner Galaxy in Lian et al., these differences could be explained by the off-bar disc having experienced either a faster early quenching process or recent metal-poor gas accretion. Vertical variations of the abundance distributions at small rGC suggest a wider vertical distribution of low-αmore »stars in the bar, which may serve as chemical evidence for vertical heating through the bar buckling process. The lack of such vertical variations outside the bulge may then suggest a lack of vertical heating in the long bar.« less