Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1305.6145 (G. Kordopatis et al.)

Through thick and thin: Structure of the Galactic thick disc from extragalactic surveys    [PDF]

G. Kordopatis, V. Hill, M. Irwin, G. Gilmore, R. F. G. Wyse, E. Tolstoy, P. de Laverny, A. Recio-Blanco, G. Battaglia, E. Starkenburg
We aim to understand the accretion history of the Milky Way by exploring the vertical and radial properties of the Galactic thick disc. We study the chemical and kinematic properties of roughly a thousand spectra of faint magnitude foreground Galactic stars observed serendipitously during extra-galactic surveys in four lines-of-sight: three in the southern Galactic hemisphere (surveys of the Carina, Fornax and Sculptor dwarf spheroidal galaxies) and one in the northern Galactic hemisphere (a survey of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy). The foreground stars span distances up to 3kpc from the Galactic plane and Galactocentric radii up to 11kpc. Only three lines-of-sight have a sufficient number of foreground stars for a robust analysis. Towards Sextans in the Northern Galactic hemisphere and Sculptor in the South, we measure a consistent decrease in mean metallicity with height from the Galactic plane, suggesting a chemically symmetric thick disc. This decrease can either be due to an intrinsic thick disc metallicity gradient, or simply due to a change in the thin disc/thick disc population ratio and no intrinsic metallicity gradients for the thick disc. We favour the latter explanation. In contrast, we find evidence of an unpredicted metal-poor population in the direction of Carina. This population was earlier detected by Wyse et al. (2006), but our more detailed analysis provides robust estimates of its location (|Z|<1kpc), metallicity (-2<[M/H]<-1 dex) and azimuthal orbital velocity (V_phi ~120 km/s). Given the chemo-dynamical properties of the over-density towards the Carina line-of-sight, we suggest that it represents the metal-poor tail of the canonical thick disc. In spite of the small number of stars available, we suggest that this metal-weak thick disc follows the often suggested thick disc velocity-metallicity correlation of dV_phi/d[M/H]~40-50km/s/dex.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.6145

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