EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 423, Number 2, August IV 2004
Page(s) 517 - 535
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035617
Published online 06 August 2004

A&A 423, 517-535 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035617

Chemical enrichment and star formation in the Milky Way disk

III. Chemodynamical constraints
H. J. Rocha-Pinto1, 2, C. Flynn3, J. Scalo4, J. Hänninen3, W. J. Maciel1 and G. Hensler5

1  Depart. of Astronomy, IAG/USP, Rua do Matão 1226, 05508-900 São Paulo, Brazil
    e-mail: maciel@astro.iag.usp.br
2  Depart. of Astronomy, University of Virginia, PO Box 3818, Charlottesville, VA 22903-0818, USA
    e-mail: helio@virginia.edu
3  Tuorla Observatory, Väisäläntie 20, 21500 Pikkiiö, Finland
    e-mail: cflynn@astro.utu.fi;jyrki@astro.utu.fi
4  Depart. of Astronomy, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
    e-mail: parrot@astro.as.utexas.edu
5  Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik, Universität Kiel, 24098 Kiel, Germany
    e-mail: hensler@astrophysik.uni-kiel.de

(Received 3 November 2003 / Accepted 12 May 2004 )

In this paper, we investigate some chemokinematical properties of the Milky Way disk, by using a sample composed by 424 late-type dwarfs. We show that the velocity dispersion of a stellar group correlates with the age of this group, according to a law proportional to  t0.26, where  t is the age of the stellar group. The temporal evolution of the vertex deviation is considered in detail. It is shown that the vertex deviation does not seem to depend strongly on the age of the stellar group. Previous studies in the literature seem to not have found it due to the use of statistical ages for stellar groups, rather than individual ages. The possibility to use the orbital parameters of a star to derive information about its birthplace is investigated, and we show that the mean galactocentric radius is likely to be the most reliable stellar birthplace indicator. However, this information cannot be presently used to derive radial evolutionary constraints, due to an intrinsic bias present in all samples constructed from nearby stars. An extensive discussion of the secular and stochastic heating mechanisms commonly invoked to explain the age-velocity dispersion relation is presented. We suggest that the age-velocity dispersion relation could reflect the gradual decrease in the turbulent velocity dispersion from which disk stars form, a suggestion originally made by Tinsley & Larson (1978, ApJ, 221, 554) and supported by several more recent disk evolution calculations. A test to distinguish between the two types of models using high-redshift galaxies is proposed.

Key words: stars: late-type -- stars: statistics -- Galaxy: evolution -- Galaxy: solar neighbourhood

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