Are dSph galaxies Galactic building blocks?
1 Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK
2 Astronomy Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
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Dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSph) are frequently assumed to represent surviving examples of a vast now destroyed population of small systems in which many of the stars now forming the Milky Way were formed. Ongoing accretion and considerable sub-structure in the outer Galactic halo is direct evidence that there is some role for stars formed in small galaxies in populating the (outer) galaxy. The evidence from stellar populations is however contradictory to this. dSph stellar populations are unlike any stars found in significant numbers in the Milky Way. The dSph are indeed small galaxies, formed over long times with low rates of star formation. Most of the stars in the Milky Way halo however seem to have formed quickly, at higher star formation rate, in gas mixed efficiently on kpc scales. The overwhelming majority of Milky Way stars, those in the Galactic thick disk and thin disk, seem to have nothing at all to do with dwarf galaxy origins.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012