skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1715582

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.


    Gaia Data Release 2 revealed that the Milky Way contains significant indications of departures from equilibrium in the form of asymmetric features in the phase space density of stars in the Solar neighbourhood. One such feature is the z–vz phase spiral, interpreted as the response of the disc to the influence of a perturbation perpendicular to the disc plane, which could be external (e.g. a satellite) or internal (e.g. the bar or spiral arms). In this work, we use Gaia Data Release 3 to dissect the phase spiral by dividing the local data set into groups with similar azimuthal actions, Jϕ, and conjugate angles, θϕ, which selects stars on similar orbits and at similar orbital phases, thus having experienced similar perturbations in the past. These divisions allow us to explore areas of the Galactic disc larger than the surveyed region. The separation improves the clarity of the z–vz phase spiral and exposes changes to its morphology across the different action-angle groups. In particular, we discover a transition to two armed ‘breathing spirals’ in the inner Milky Way. We conclude that the local data contain signatures of not one, but multiple perturbations with the prospect to use their distinct propertiesmore »to infer the properties of the interactions that caused them.

    « less

    Stars born on near-circular orbits in spiral galaxies can subsequently migrate to different orbits due to interactions with non-axisymmetric disturbances within the disc such as bars or spiral arms. This paper extends the study of migration to examine the role of external influences using the example of the interaction of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy (Sgr) with the Milky Way (MW). We first make impulse approximation estimates to characterize the influence of Sgr disc passages. The tidal forcing from Sgr can produce changes in both guiding radius ΔRg and orbital eccentricity, as quantified by the maximum radial excursion ΔRmax. These changes follow a quadrupole-like pattern across the face of the disc, with amplitude increasing with Galactocentric radius. We next examine a collisionless N-body simulation of a Sgr-like satellite interacting with an MW-like galaxy and find that Sgr’s influence in the outer disc dominates the secular evolution of orbits between disc passages. Finally, we use the same simulation to explore possible observable signatures of Sgr-induced migration by painting the simulation with different age stellar populations. We find that following Sgr disc passages, the migration it induces manifests within an annulus as an approximate quadrupole in azimuthal metallicity variations (δ[Fe/H]), along withmore »systematic variations in orbital eccentricity, ΔRmax. These systematic variations can persist for several rotational periods. We conclude that this combination of signatures may be used to distinguish between the different migration mechanisms shaping the chemical abundance patterns of the MW’s thin disc.

    « less
  3. Abstract

    Signatures of vertical disequilibrium have been observed across the Milky Way’s (MW’s) disk. These signatures manifest locally as unmixed phase spirals inzvzspace (“snails-in-phase”), and globally as nonzero meanzandvz, wrapping around the disk into physical spirals in thexyplane (“snails-in-space”). We explore the connection between these local and global spirals through the example of a satellite perturbing a test-particle MW-like disk. We anticipate our results to broadly apply to any vertical perturbation. Using azvzasymmetry metric, we demonstrate that in test-particle simulations: (a) multiple local phase-spiral morphologies appear when stars are binned by azimuthal actionJϕ, excited by a single event (in our case, a satellite disk crossing); (b) these distinct phase spirals are traced back to distinct disk locations; and (c) they are excited at distinct times. Thus, local phase spirals offer a global view of the MW’s perturbation history from multiple perspectives. Using a toy model for a Sagittarius (Sgr)–like satellite crossing the disk, we show that the full interaction takes place on timescales comparable to orbital periods of disk stars withinR≲ 10 kpc. Hence such perturbations have widespread influence, which peaks in distinct regions of the disk at different times. This leads us to examine the ongoing MW–Sgr interaction. Whilemore »Sgr has not yet crossed the disk (currently,zSgr≈ −6 kpc,vz,Sgr≈ 210 km s−1), we demonstrate that the peak of the impact has already passed. Sgr’s pull over the past 150 Myr creates a globalvzsignature with amplitude ∝MSgr, which might be detectable in future spectroscopic surveys.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    To understand the formation and evolution of the Milky Way disk, we must connect its current properties to its past. We explore hydrodynamical cosmological simulations to investigate how the chemical abundances of stars might be linked to their origins. Using hierarchical clustering of abundance measurements in two Milky Way–like simulations with distributed and steady star formation histories, we find that groups of chemically similar stars comprise different groups in birth place (Rbirth) and time (age). Simulating observational abundance errors (0.05 dex), we find that to trace distinct groups of (Rbirth, age) requires a large vector of abundances. Using 15 element abundances (Fe, O, Mg, S, Si, C, P, Mn, Ne, Al, N, V, Ba, Cr, Co), up to ≈10 groups can be defined with ≈25% overlap in (Rbirth, age). We build a simple model to show that in the context of these simulations, it is possible to infer a star’s age andRbirthfrom abundances with precisions of ±0.06 Gyr and ±1.17 kpc, respectively. We find that abundance clustering is ineffective for a third simulation, where low-αstars form distributed in the disk and early high-αstars form more rapidly in clumps that sink toward the Galactic center as their constituent stars evolvemore »to enrich the interstellar medium. However, this formation path leads to large age dispersions across the [α/Fe]–[Fe/H] plane, which is inconsistent with the Milky Way’s observed properties. We conclude that abundance clustering is a promising approach toward charting the history of our Galaxy.

    « less
  5. Abstract In the era of large-scale spectroscopic surveys in the Local Group, we can explore using chemical abundances of halo stars to study the star formation and chemical enrichment histories of the dwarf galaxy progenitors of the Milky Way (MW) and M31 stellar halos. In this paper, we investigate using the chemical abundance ratio distributions (CARDs) of seven stellar halos from the Latte suite of FIRE-2 simulations. We attempt to infer galaxies’ assembly histories by modeling the CARDs of the stellar halos of the Latte galaxies as a linear combination of template CARDs from disrupted dwarfs, with different stellar masses M ⋆ and quenching times t 100 . We present a method for constructing these templates using present-day dwarf galaxies. For four of the seven Latte halos studied in this work, we recover the mass spectrum of accreted dwarfs to a precision of <10%. For the fraction of mass accreted as a function of t 100 , we find the residuals of 20%–30% for five of the seven simulations. We discuss the failure modes of this method, which arise from the diversity of star formation and chemical enrichment histories that dwarf galaxies can take. These failure cases can be robustlymore »identified by the high model residuals. Although the CARDs modeling method does not successfully infer the assembly histories in these cases, the CARDs of these disrupted dwarfs contain signatures of their unusual formation histories. Our results are promising for using CARDs to learn more about the histories of the progenitors of the MW and M31 stellar halos.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  6. Abstract Stellar streams from globular clusters (GCs) offer constraints on the nature of dark matter and have been used to explore the dark matter halo structure and substructure of our Galaxy. Detection of GC streams in other galaxies would broaden this endeavor to a cosmological context, yet no such streams have been detected to date. To enable such exploration, we develop the Hough Stream Spotter ( HSS ), and apply it to the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) photometric data of resolved stars in M31's stellar halo. We first demonstrate that our code can re-discover known dwarf streams in M31. We then use the HSS to blindly identify 27 linear GC stream-like structures in the PAndAS data. For each HSS GC stream candidate, we investigate the morphologies of the streams and the colors and magnitudes of all stars in the candidate streams. We find that the five most significant detections show a stronger signal along the red giant branch in color–magnitude diagrams than spurious non-stream detections. Lastly, we demonstrate that the HSS will easily detect globular cluster streams in future Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope data of nearby galaxies. This has the potential to open up a new discovery space formore »GC stream studies, GC stream gap searches, and for GC stream-based constraints on the nature of dark matter.« less
  7. ABSTRACT In this work, we present two new ∼109 particle self-consistent simulations of the merger of a Sagittarius-like dwarf galaxy with a Milky Way (MW)-like disc galaxy. One model is a violent merger creating a thick disc, and a Gaia–Enceladus/Sausage-like remnant. The other is a highly stable disc which we use to illustrate how the improved phase space resolution allows us to better examine the formation and evolution of structures that have been observed in small, local volumes in the MW, such as the z−vz phase spiral and clustering in the vR−vϕ plane when compared to previous works. The local z−vz phase spirals are clearly linked to the global asymmetry across the disc: we find both 2-armed and 1-armed phase spirals, which are related to breathing and bending behaviours, respectively. Hercules-like moving groups are common, clustered in vR−vϕ in local data samples in the simulation. These groups migrate outwards from the inner galaxy, matching observed metallicity trends even in the absence of a galactic bar. We currently release the best-fitting ‘present-day’ merger snapshots along with the unperturbed galaxies for comparison.
  8. ABSTRACT Our situation as occupants of the Milky Way (MW) Galaxy, bombarded by the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, provides an intimate view of physical processes that can lead to the dynamical heating of a galactic disc. While this evolution is instigated by Sagittarius, it is also driven by the intertwined influences of the dark matter halo and the disc itself. We analyse an N-body simulation following a Sagittarius-like galaxy interacting with a MW-like host to disentangle these different influences during the stages of a minor merger. The accelerations in the disc plane from each component are calculated for each snapshot in the simulation, and then decomposed into Fourier series on annuli. The analysis maps quantify and compare the scales of the individual contributions over space and through time: (i) accelerations due to the satellite are only important around disc passages; (ii) the influence around these passages is enhanced and extended by the distortion of the dark matter halo; (iii) the interaction drives disc asymmetries within and perpendicular to the plane and the self-gravity of these distortions increase in importance with time eventually leading to the formation of a bar. These results have interesting implications for identifying different influences within our ownmore »Galaxy. Currently, Sagittarius is close enough to a plane crossing to search for localized signatures of its effect at intermediate radii, the distortion of the MW’s dark matter halo should leave its imprint in the outer disc and the disc’s own self-consistent response is sculpting the intermediate and inner disc.« less
  9. Abstract Using N-body simulations of the Milky Way interacting with a satellite similar to the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, we quantitatively analyse the vertical response of the Galactic disc to the satellite’s repeated impacts. We approximate the vertical distortion of the Galactic disc as the sum of the first three Fourier azimuthal terms m = 0, 1 and 2, and observe their evolution in different dynamical regimes of interaction. After the first interaction, the m = 0 term manifests itself as outgoing ring-like vertical distortions. The m = 1 term (S-shape warp) is prograde when the impacts of the satellite are more frequent, or in general close to an interaction, whereas it is slowly retrograde in the most quiescent phases. The m = 2 term is typically prograde, and close to an interaction it couples with the m = 1 term. Finally, we find that the vertical response of the disc can be recovered in an unbiased way using the instantaneous positions and velocities of stars in a limited volume of the Galactic disc, analogous to real data, and that the measured vertical pattern speeds have a constraining power in the context of a Milky Way-satellite interaction.