EDP Sciences
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Volume 418, Number 3, May II 2004
Page(s) 989 - 1019
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035959

A&A 418, 989-1019 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035959

The Geneva-Copenhagen survey of the Solar neighbourhood

Ages, metallicities, and kinematic properties of ~14 000 F and G dwarfs
B. Nordström1, 2, M. Mayor3, J. Andersen4, 5, J. Holmberg4, 5, F. Pont3, B. R. Jørgensen2, E. H. Olsen4, S. Udry3 and  N. Mowlavi3

1  Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics & Geophysics, Blegdamsvej 17, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
2  Lund Observatory, Box 43, 22100 Lund, Sweden
3  Observatoire de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
4  Astronomical Observatory, NBIfAFG, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
5  Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association, Apartado 474, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain

(Received 31 December 2003 / Accepted 23 January 2004)

We present and discuss new determinations of metallicity, rotation, age, kinematics, and Galactic orbits for a complete, magnitude-limited, and kinematically unbiased sample of 16 682 nearby F and G dwarf stars. Our ~63 000 new, accurate radial-velocity observations for nearly 13 500 stars allow identification of most of the binary stars in the sample and, together with published ${\it u}v{\it by}\beta$ photometry, Hipparcos parallaxes, Tycho-2 proper motions, and a few earlier radial velocities, complete the kinematic information for 14 139 stars. These high-quality velocity data are supplemented by effective temperatures and metallicities newly derived from recent and/or revised calibrations. The remaining stars either lack Hipparcos data or have fast rotation. A major effort has been devoted to the determination of new isochrone ages for all stars for which this is possible. Particular attention has been given to a realistic treatment of statistical biases and error estimates, as standard techniques tend to underestimate these effects and introduce spurious features in the age distributions. Our ages agree well with those by Edvardsson et al. (1993), despite several astrophysical and computational improvements since then. We demonstrate, however, how strong observational and theoretical biases cause the distribution of the observed ages to be very different from that of the true age distribution of the sample. Among the many basic relations of the Galactic disk that can be reinvestigated from the data presented here, we revisit the metallicity distribution of the G dwarfs and the age-metallicity, age-velocity, and metallicity-velocity relations of the Solar neighbourhood. Our first results confirm the lack of metal-poor G dwarfs relative to closed-box model predictions (the "G dwarf problem"), the existence of radial metallicity gradients in the disk, the small change in mean metallicity of the thin disk since its formation and the substantial scatter in metallicity at all ages, and the continuing kinematic heating of the thin disk with an efficiency consistent with that expected for a combination of spiral arms and giant molecular clouds. Distinct features in the distribution of the V component of the space motion are extended in age and metallicity, corresponding to the effects of stochastic spiral waves rather than classical moving groups, and may complicate the identification of thick-disk stars from kinematic criteria. More advanced analyses of this rich material will require careful simulations of the selection criteria for the sample and the distribution of observational errors.

Key words: Galaxy: disk -- Galaxy: solar neighbourhood -- Galaxy: stellar content -- Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics -- Galaxy: evolution -- stars: fundamental parameters

Offprint request: B. Nordström, birgitta@astro.ku.dk

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