Wednesday, April 3, 2013
How the Milky Way Built its Disk
Hans-Walter Rix, MPIA
If we could map the overall structure of the Milky Way's stellar disk, looking only at stars of a given age
or abundance, it would be a direct empirical route to delineating how a typical galaxy disk was built.
We have solved the problem of how to look at our own Galaxy this way, using large ground-based spectroscopic surveys.
I will show how the overall radial and vertical structure of the Milky Way's disk changes as a function of stellar
abundances, which may serve as proxies for stellar ages. Through comparison with disk formation simulations,
I will also discuss what this may mean for the build-up of the Milky Way disk and its evolution.
Slicing the Milky Way's disk into sets of such stellar 'mono-abundance populations' is also proving a powerful
way to constrain the Galactic potential.