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  1. ABSTRACT The Milky Way underwent its last significant merger ten billion years ago, when the Gaia-Enceladus-Sausage (GES) was accreted. Accreted GES stars and progenitor stars born prior to the merger make up the bulk of the inner halo. Even though these two main populations of halo stars have similar durations of star formation prior to their merger, they differ in [α/Fe]-[Fe/H] space, with the GES population bending to lower [α/Fe] at a relatively low value of [Fe/H]. We use cosmological simulations of a ‘Milky Way’ to argue that the different tracks of the halo stars through the [α/Fe]-[Fe/H] plane are due to a difference in their star formation history and efficiency, with the lower mass GES having its low and constant star formation regulated by feedback whilst the higher mass main progenitor has a higher star formation rate prior to the merger. The lower star formation efficiency of GES leads to lower gas pollution levels, pushing [α/Fe]-[Fe/H] tracks to the left. In addition, the increasing star formation rate maintains a higher relative contribution of Type II SNe to Type Ia SNe for the main progenitor population that formed during the same time period, thus maintaining a relatively high [α/Fe]. Thus the differentmore »positions of the downturns in the [α/Fe]-[Fe/H] plane for the GES stars are not reflective of different star formation durations, but instead reflect different star formation efficiencies.« less
  2. Abstract Gaia DR2 has provided an unprecedented wealth of information about the positions and motions of stars in our Galaxy, and has highlighted the degree of disequilibria in the disc. As we collect data over a wider area of the disc it becomes increasingly appealing to start analysing stellar actions and angles, which specifically label orbit space, instead of their current phase space location. Conceptually, while $\bar{x}$ and $\bar{v}$ tell us about the potential and local interactions, grouping in action puts together stars that have similar frequencies and hence similar responses to dynamical effects occurring over several orbits. Grouping in actions and angles refines this further to isolate stars which are travelling together through space and hence have shared histories. Mixing these coordinate systems can confuse the interpretation. For example, it has been suggested that by moving stars to their guiding radius, the Milky Way spiral structure is visible as ridge-like overdensities in the Gaia data (Khoperskov et al. 2020). However, in this work, we show that these features are in fact the known kinematic moving groups, both in the Lz − φ and the vR − vφ planes. Using simulations we show how this distinction will become even more importantmore »as we move to a global view of the Milky Way. As an example, we show that the radial velocity wave seen in the Galactic disc in Gaia and APOGEE should become stronger in the action-angle frame, and that it can be reproduced by transient spiral structure.« less

    Gaia DR2 has provided an unprecedented wealth of information about the kinematics of stars in the Solar neighbourhood, and has highlighted the degree of features in the Galactic disc. We confront the data with a range of bar and spiral models in both action-angle space, and the RG–vϕ plane. We find that the phase mixing induced by transient spiral structure creates ridges and arches in the local kinematics which are consistent with the Gaia data. We are able to produce a qualitatively good match to the data when combined with a bar with a variety of pattern speeds, and show that it is non-trivial to decouple the effects of the bar and the spiral structure.