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MaGICC thick disc - I. Comparing a simulated disc formed with stellar feedback to the Milky Way


Stinson, G S; Bovy, J; Rix, H - W; Brook, C; Roskar, R; Dalcanton, J J; Maccio, A V; Wadsley, J; Couchman, H M P; Quinn, T R (2013). MaGICC thick disc - I. Comparing a simulated disc formed with stellar feedback to the Milky Way. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 436(1):625-634.

Abstract

We analyse the structure and chemical enrichment of a Milky Way-like galaxy with a stellar mass of 2 × 1010 M⊙, formed in a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation. It is disc dominated with a flat rotation curve, and has a disc scalelength similar to the Milky Way's, but a velocity dispersion that is ˜50 per cent higher. Examining stars in narrow [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] abundance ranges, we find remarkable qualitative agreement between this simulation and observations. (a) The old stars lie in a thickened distribution with a short scalelength, while the young stars form a thinner disc, with scalelengths decreasing, as [Fe/H] increases. (b) Consequently, there is a distinct outward metallicity gradient. (c) Mono-abundance populations exist with a continuous distribution of scaleheights (from thin to thick). However, the simulated galaxy has a distinct and substantive very thick disc (hz ˜ 1.5 kpc), not seen in the Milky Way. The broad agreement between simulations and observations allows us to test the validity of observational proxies used in the literature: we find in the simulation that mono-abundance populations are good proxies for single age populations (<1 Gyr) for most abundances.

We analyse the structure and chemical enrichment of a Milky Way-like galaxy with a stellar mass of 2 × 1010 M⊙, formed in a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation. It is disc dominated with a flat rotation curve, and has a disc scalelength similar to the Milky Way's, but a velocity dispersion that is ˜50 per cent higher. Examining stars in narrow [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] abundance ranges, we find remarkable qualitative agreement between this simulation and observations. (a) The old stars lie in a thickened distribution with a short scalelength, while the young stars form a thinner disc, with scalelengths decreasing, as [Fe/H] increases. (b) Consequently, there is a distinct outward metallicity gradient. (c) Mono-abundance populations exist with a continuous distribution of scaleheights (from thin to thick). However, the simulated galaxy has a distinct and substantive very thick disc (hz ˜ 1.5 kpc), not seen in the Milky Way. The broad agreement between simulations and observations allows us to test the validity of observational proxies used in the literature: we find in the simulation that mono-abundance populations are good proxies for single age populations (<1 Gyr) for most abundances.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:November 2013
Deposited On:11 Feb 2014 12:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:32
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0035-8711
Additional Information:Authors should include the following credit line when depositing their accepted manuscripts: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt1600
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-90744

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