Gauging the Galactic thick disk with RR Lyrae stars
1 Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomía (CIDA), La Hechicera, Apartado Postal 264, Mérida 5101-A, Venezuela
2 Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela
3 Centro de Astrobiología, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid Spain
a e-mail: email@example.com
In this contribution we present results from the QUEST RR Lyrae Survey of the thick disk. The survey spans ~480 sq. deg. at low latitude |b| < 30°, with multi-epoch VRI observations, obtained with the QUEST-I camera at the 1m Jürgen Stock Schmidt telescope located at the National Astronomical Observatory of Venezuela. This constitutes the first deep RR Lyrae survey of the Galactic thick disk conducted at low galactic latitudes, covering simultaneously a large range in radial (8<R(kpc)<60) and perpendicular (0<|z|(kpc)<20) distance from the Galactic Plane. The spatial coverage of the survey together with the multi-band multi-epoch photometry allowed for the derivation of the thick disk structural parameters from in situ RR Lyrae stars having accurate distances (errors <7%) and individual reddenings derived from each star’s color curve at minimum light. Moreover, the use of RR Lyrae stars as tracers ensures negligible contamination from the Galactic thin disk. We find a thick disk mean scale height hZ = 0.94 ± 0.11kpc and scale length hR = 3.2 ± 0.4kpc, derived from the vertical and radial mean density profiles of RR Lyrae stars. We also find evidence of thick disk flaring and results that may suggest the thick disk radial density profile shows signs of antitruncation. We discuss our findings in the context of recent thick disk formation models.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012