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The AMBRE project: The thick thin disk and thin thick disk of the Milky Way

Abstract : We analyze 494 main sequence turnoff and subgiant stars from the AMBRE:HARPS survey. These stars have accurate astrometric information from Gaia DR1, providing reliable age estimates with relative uncertainties of ±1 or 2 Gyr and allowing precise orbital determinations. The sample is split based on chemistry into a low-[Mg/Fe] sequence, which are often identified as thin disk stellar populations, and high-[Mg/Fe] sequence, which are often associated with thick disk stellar populations. We find that the high-[Mg/Fe] chemical sequence has extended star formation for several Gyr and is coeval with the oldest stars of the low-[Mg/Fe] chemical sequence: both the low- and high-[Mg/Fe] sequences were forming stars at the same time. We find that the high-[Mg/Fe] stellar populations are only vertically extended for the oldest, most-metal poor and highest [Mg/Fe] stars. When comparing vertical velocity dispersion for the low- and high-[Mg/Fe] sequences, the high-[Mg/Fe] sequence has lower vertical velocity dispersion than the low-[Mg/Fe] sequence for stars of similar age. This means that identifying either group as thin or thick disk based on chemistry is misleading. The stars belonging to the high-[Mg/Fe] sequence have perigalacticons that originate in the inner disk, while the perigalacticons of stars on the low-[Mg/Fe] sequence are generally around the solar neighborhood. From the orbital properties of the stars, the high-[Mg/Fe] and low-[Mg/Fe] sequences are most likely a reflection of the chemical enrichment history of the inner and outer disk populations, respectively; radial mixing causes both populations to be observed in situ at the solar position. Based on these results, we emphasize that it is important to be clear in defining what populations are being referenced when using the terms thin and thick disk, and that ideally the term thick disk should be reserved for purely geometric definitions to avoid confusion and be consistent with definitions in external galaxies.
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M. R. Hayden, A. Recio-Blanco, P. de Laverny, S. Mikolaitis, C. C. Worley. The AMBRE project: The thick thin disk and thin thick disk of the Milky Way. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 608, pp.L1. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201731494⟩. ⟨hal-02968642⟩

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