Constraining the formation of the Milky Way: Ages
1 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
2 Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
a e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We present a new approach for studying the chemodynamical evolution of the Milky Way, which combines a thin disk chemical evolution model with the dynamics from N-body simulation of a galaxy with properties similar to those of our Galaxy. A cosmological re-simulation is used as a surrogate in order to extract ∼11 Gyrs of self-consistent dynamical evolution. We are then in a position to quantify the impact of radial migration at the Solar Vicinity. We find that the distribution of birth radii, r0, of stars ending up in a solar neighborhood-like location after ∼11 Gyr of evolution peaks around r0 = 6 kpc due to radial migration. A wide range of birth radii is seen for different age groups. The strongest effect from radial migration is found for the oldest stars and it is connected to an early merger phase typical from cosmological simulations. We find that while the low-end in our simulated solar vicinity metallicity distribution is composed by stars with a wide range of birth radii, the tail at larger metallicities (0.25 <[Fe/H]< 0.6) results almost exclusively from stars with 3 < r0< 5 kpc. This is the region just inside the bar's corotation (CR), which is where the strongest outward radial migration occurs. The fraction of stars in this tail can, therefore, be related to the bar's dynamical properties, such as its strength, pattern speed and time evolution/formation. We show that one of the main observational constraints of this kind of models is the time variation of the abundance gradients in the disk. The most important outcome of our chemodynamical model is that, although we used only a thin-disc chemical evolution model, the oldest stars that are now in the solar vicinity show several of the properties usually attributed to the Galactic thick disc. In other words, in our model the MW “thick disc” emerges naturally from stars migrating from the inner disc very early on due to strong merger activity in the first couple of Gyr of disc formation, followed by further radial migration driven by the bar and spirals at later times. These results will be extended to other radius bins and more chemical elements in order to provide testable predictions once more precise information on ages and distances would become available (with Gaia, asteroseismology and future surveys such as 4MOST).
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.