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    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 andmore »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.

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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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  3. 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
  4. Abstract The SDSS-IV Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey has obtained high-resolution spectra for thousands of red giant stars distributed among the massive satellite galaxies of the Milky Way (MW): the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC/SMC), the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy (Sgr), Fornax (Fnx), and the now fully disrupted Gaia Sausage/Enceladus (GSE) system. We present and analyze the APOGEE chemical abundance patterns of each galaxy to draw robust conclusions about their star formation histories, by quantifying the relative abundance trends of multiple elements (C, N, O, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Fe, Ni, and Ce), as well as by fitting chemical evolution models to the [ α /Fe]–[Fe/H] abundance plane for each galaxy. Results show that the chemical signatures of the starburst in the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) observed by Nidever et al. in the α -element abundances extend to C+N, Al, and Ni, with the major burst in the SMC occurring some 3–4 Gyr before the burst in the LMC. We find that Sgr and Fnx also exhibit chemical abundance patterns suggestive of secondary star formation epochs, but these events were weaker and earlier (∼5–7 Gyr ago) than those observed in the MCs. There is no chemical evidence ofmore »a second starburst in GSE, but this galaxy shows the strongest initial star formation as compared to the other four galaxies. All dwarf galaxies had greater relative contributions of AGB stars to their enrichment than the MW. Comparing and contrasting these chemical patterns highlight the importance of galaxy environment on its chemical evolution.« less

    Star-forming galaxies can in principle be transformed into passive systems by a multitude of processes that quench star formation, such as the halting of gas accretion (starvation) or the rapid removal of gas in AGN-driven outflows. However, it remains unclear which processes are the most significant, primary drivers of the SF-passive bimodality. We address this key issue in galaxy evolution by studying the chemical properties of 80 000 local galaxies in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. In order to distinguish between different quenching mechanisms, we analyse the stellar metallicities of star-forming, green valley, and passive galaxies. We find that the significant difference in stellar metallicity between passive galaxies and their star-forming progenitors implies that for galaxies at all masses, quenching must have involved an extended phase of starvation. However, some form of gas ejection also has to be introduced into our models to best match the observed properties of local passive galaxies, indicating that, while starvation is likely to be the prerequisite for quenching, it is the combination of starvation and outflows that is responsible for quenching the majority of galaxies. Closed-box models indicate that the duration of the quenching phase is 2–3 Gyr, with an e-folding time ofmore »2–4 Gyr, after which further star formation is prevented by an ejective/heating mode. Alternatively, leaky-box models find a longer duration for the quenching phase of 5–7 Gyr and an e-folding time of ∼1 Gyr, with outflows becoming increasingly important with decreasing stellar mass. Finally, our analysis of local green valley galaxies indicates that quenching is slower in the local Universe than at high redshift.

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  6. Abstract This paper documents the seventeenth data release (DR17) from the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys; the fifth and final release from the fourth phase (SDSS-IV). DR17 contains the complete release of the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey, which reached its goal of surveying over 10,000 nearby galaxies. The complete release of the MaNGA Stellar Library accompanies this data, providing observations of almost 30,000 stars through the MaNGA instrument during bright time. DR17 also contains the complete release of the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment 2 survey that publicly releases infrared spectra of over 650,000 stars. The main sample from the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), as well as the subsurvey Time Domain Spectroscopic Survey data were fully released in DR16. New single-fiber optical spectroscopy released in DR17 is from the SPectroscipic IDentification of ERosita Survey subsurvey and the eBOSS-RM program. Along with the primary data sets, DR17 includes 25 new or updated value-added catalogs. This paper concludes the release of SDSS-IV survey data. SDSS continues into its fifth phase with observations already underway for the Milky Way Mapper, Local Volume Mapper, and Black Hole Mapper surveys.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2023