Journal Article

Metallicities and ages of stellar populations at a high Galactic latitude field

Michael H. Siegel, Yüksel Karataş and I. Neill Reid

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 3, pages 1569-1578
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Metallicities and ages of stellar populations at a high Galactic latitude field

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We present an analysis of UBVRI data from the selected area SA 141. By applying recalibrated methods of measuring ultraviolet excess (UVX), we approximate abundances and absolute magnitudes for 368 stars over 1.3 deg2 out to distances over 10 kpc. With the density distribution constrained from our previous photometric parallax investigations and with sufficient accounting for the metallicity bias in the UVX method, we are able to compare the vertical abundance distribution to those measured in previous studies. We find that the abundance distribution has an underlying uniform component consistent with previous spectroscopic results that posit a monometallic thick disc and halo with abundances of [Fe/H]=−0.8 and −1.4, respectively. However, there are a number of outlying data points that may indicate contamination by more metal-rich halo streams. The absence of vertical abundance gradients in the Galactic stellar populations and the possible presence of interloping halo streams would be consistent with expectations from merger models of Galaxy formation. We find that our UVX method has limited sensitivity in exploring the metallicity distribution of the distant Galactic halo, owing to the poor constraint on the UBV properties of very metal-poor stars. The derivation of metallicities from broad-band UBV photometry remains fundamentally sound for the exploration of the halo but is in need of both improved calibration and superior data.

Keywords: stars: abundances; stars: Population II; Galaxy: evolution

Journal Article.  6072 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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