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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT

    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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  3. ABSTRACT

    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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  4. Abstract

    The goal of the Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) survey is to constrain key Galactic dynamic and chemical evolution parameters by the construction and analysis of a large, comprehensive, uniform data set of infrared spectra for stars in hundreds of open clusters. This sixth contribution from the OCCAM survey presents analysis of SDSS/APOGEE Data Release 17 (DR17) results for a sample of stars in 150 open clusters, 94 of which we designate to be “high-quality” based on the appearance of their color–magnitude diagram. We find the APOGEE DR17-derived [Fe/H] values to be in good agreement with those from previous high-resolution spectroscopic open cluster abundance studies. Using a subset of the high-quality sample, the Galactic abundance gradients were measured for 16 chemical elements, including [Fe/H], for both Galactocentric radius (RGC) and guiding center radius (Rguide). We find an overall Galactic [Fe/H] versusRGCgradient of −0.073 ± 0.002 dex kpc−1over the range of 6 >RGC< 11.5 kpc, and a similar gradient is found for [Fe/H] versusRguide. Significant Galactic abundance gradients are also noted for O, Mg, S, Ca, Mn, Na, Al, K, and Ce. Our large sample additionally allows us to explore the evolution of the gradients in four agemore »bins for the remaining 15 elements.

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  5. 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
  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
  7. 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