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    The oldest stars in the Milky Way (born in the first few billion years) are expected to have a high density in the inner few kpc, spatially overlapping with the Galactic bulge. We use spectroscopic data from the Pristine Inner Galaxy Survey (PIGS) to study the dynamical properties of ancient, metal-poor inner Galaxy stars. We compute distances using starhorse, and orbital properties in a barred Galactic potential. With this paper, we release the spectroscopic AAT/PIGS catalogue (13 235 stars). We find that most PIGS stars have orbits typical for a pressure-supported population. The fraction of stars confined to the inner Galaxy decreases with decreasing metallicity, but many very metal-poor stars (VMP; [Fe/H] <−2.0) stay confined ($\sim 60~{{\ \rm per \, cent}}$ stay within 5 kpc). The azimuthal velocity vϕ also decreases between [Fe/H] = −1.0 and −2.0, but is constant for VMP stars (at ∼+40 km s−1). The carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars in PIGS appear to have similar orbital properties compared to normal VMP stars. Our results suggest a possible transition between two spheroidal components – a more metal-rich, more concentrated, faster rotating component, and a more metal-poor, more extended and slower/non-rotating component. We propose that the former may be connected to pre-disc in-situ stars (or those born in large building blocks), whereas the latter may be dominated by contributions from smaller galaxies. This is an exciting era where large metal-poor samples, such as in this work (as well as upcoming surveys, e.g. 4MOST), shed light on the earliest evolution of our Galaxy.

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    We present a new spectroscopic study of 175 stars in the vicinity of the dwarf galaxy Hercules (d ∼ 132 kpc) with data from the Anglo-Australian Telescope and its AAOmega spectrograph together with the Two Degree Field multi-object system to solve the conundrum that whether Hercules is tidally disrupting. We combine broad-band photometry, proper motions from Gaia, and our Pristine narrow-band and metallicity-sensitive photometry to efficiently weed out the Milky Way contamination. Such cleaning is particularly critical in this kinematic regime, as both the transverse and heliocentric velocities of Milky Way populations overlap with Hercules. Thanks to this method, three new member stars are identified, including one at almost 10rh of the satellite. All three have velocities and metallicities consistent with that of the main body. Combining this new data set with the entire literature cleaned out from contamination shows that Hercules does not exhibit a velocity gradient (d〈v〉/dχ $= 0.1^{+0.4}_{-0.2}$ km s−1 arcmin−1, 1.6 km s−1 arcmin−1 as a 3σ upper limit) and, as such, does not show evidence to undergo tidal disruption.

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    Gaia EDR3 data were used to identify potential members in the outskirts of three ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxies: Coma Berenices (>2Rh), Ursa Major I (∼4Rh), and Boötes I (∼4Rh), as well as a new member in the central region of Ursa Major I. These targets were observed with the Gemini GRACES spectrograph, which was used to determine precision radial velocities and metallicities that confirm their associations with the UFD galaxies. The spectra were also used to measure absorption lines for 10 elements (Na, Mg, K, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Fe, Ni, and Ba), which confirm that the chemical abundances of the outermost stars are in good agreement with stars in the central regions. The abundance ratios and chemical patterns of the stars in Coma Berenices are consistent with contributions from SN Ia, which is unusual for its star formation history and in conflict with previous suggestions that this system evolved chemically from a single core collapse supernova event. The chemistries for all three galaxies are consistent with the outermost stars forming in the central regions, then moving to their current locations through tidal stripping and/or supernova feedback. In Boötes I, however, the lower metallicity and lack of strong carbon enrichment of its outermost stars could also be evidence of a dwarf galaxy merger.

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    The investigation of the metal-poor tail in the Galactic bulge provides unique information on the early Milky Way assembly and evolution. A chemo-dynamical analysis of 17 very metal-poor stars (VMP, [Fe/H]<−2.0) selected from the Pristine Inner Galaxy Survey was carried out based on Gemini/GRACES spectra. The chemistry suggests that the majority of our stars are very similar to metal-poor stars in the Galactic halo. Orbits calculated from Gaia EDR3 imply these stars are brought into the bulge during the earliest Galactic assembly. Most of our stars have large [Na,Ca/Mg] abundances, and thus show little evidence of enrichment by pair-instability supernovae. Two of our stars (P171457 and P184700) have chemical abundances compatible with second-generation globular cluster stars, suggestive of the presence of ancient and now dissolved globular clusters in the inner Galaxy. One of them (P171457) is extremely metal-poor ([Fe/H]<−3.0) and well below the metallicity floor of globular clusters, which supports the growing evidence for the existence of lower-metallicity globular clusters in the early Universe. A third star (P180956, [Fe/H]∼−2) has low [Na,Ca/Mg] and very low [Ba/Fe] for its metallicity, which are consistent with formation in a system polluted by only one or a few low-mass supernovae. Interestingly, its orbit is confined to the Galactic plane, like other very metal-poor stars found in the literature, which have been associated with the earliest building blocks of the Milky Way.

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    We present a new spectroscopic study of the dwarf galaxy Boötes I (Boo I) with data from the Anglo-Australian Telescope and its AAOmega spectrograph together with the Two Degree Field multi-object system. We observed 36 high-probability Boo I stars selected using Gaia Early Data Release 3 proper motions and photometric metallicities from the Pristine survey. Out of those, 27 are found to be Boo I stars, resulting in an excellent success rate of 75 per cent at finding new members. Our analysis uses a new pipeline developed to estimate radial velocities and equivalent widths of the calcium triplet lines from Gaussian and Voigt line profile fits. The metallicities of 16 members are derived, including 3 extremely metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] < −3.0), which translates into a success rate of 25 per cent at finding them with the combination of Pristine and Gaia. Using the large spatial extent of our new members that spans up to 4.1 half-light radii and spectroscopy from the literature, we find a systemic velocity gradient of 0.40 ± 0.10 km s−1 arcmin−1 and a small but resolved metallicity gradient of −0.008 ± 0.003 dex arcmin−1. Finally, we show that Boo I is more elongated than previously thought with an ellipticity of ϵ = 0.68 ± 0.15. Its velocity and metallicity gradients as well as its elongation suggest that Boo I may have been affected by tides, a result supported by direct dynamical modelling.

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