EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 436, Number 3, June IV 2005
Page(s) 895 - 915
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042352

A&A 436, 895-915 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042352

Star counts in the Galaxy

Simulating from very deep to very shallow photometric surveys with the TRILEGAL code
L. Girardi1, M. A. T. Groenewegen2, E. Hatziminaoglou3, 4 and L. da Costa3

1  Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, INAF, via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
    e-mail: lgirardi@ts.astro.it

PACS ICC-team, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
3  European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany
4  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, C/ vía Láctea s/n, 38200 La Laguna, Spain

(Received 10 November 2004 / Accepted 15 March 2005)

We describe TRILEGAL, a new populations synthesis code for simulating the stellar photometry of any Galaxy field. The code attempts to improve upon several technical aspects of star count models, by: dealing with very complete input libraries of evolutionary tracks; using a stellar spectral library to simulate the photometry in virtually any broad-band system; being very versatile allowing easy changes in the input libraries and in the description of all of its ingredients - like the star formation rate, age-metallicity relation, initial mass function, and geometry of Galaxy components. In a previous paper (Groenewegen et al. 2002, Paper I), the code was first applied to describe the very deep star counts of the CDFS stellar catalogue. Here, we briefly describe its initial calibration using EIS-deep and DMS star counts, which, as we show, are adequate samples to probe both the halo and the disc components of largest scale heights (oldest ages). We then present the changes in the calibration that were necessary to cope with some improvements in the model input data, and the use of more extensive photometry datasets: now the code is shown to successfully simulate also the relatively shallower 2MASS catalogue, which probes mostly the disc at intermediate ages, and the immediate solar neighbourhood as sampled by Hipparcos - in particular its absolute magnitude versus colour diagram -, which contains a somewhat larger fraction of younger stars than deeper surveys. Remarkably, the same model calibration can reproduce well the star counts in all the above-mentioned data sets, that span from the very deep magnitudes of CDFS (16<R<23) to the very shallow ones of Hipparcos (V<8). Significant deviations (above 50 percent in number counts) are found just for fields close to the Galactic Center (since no bulge component was included) and Plane, and for a single set of South Galactic Pole data. The TRILEGAL code is ready to use for the variety of wide-angle surveys in the optical/infrared that will become available in the coming years.

Key words: stars: luminosity function, mass function -- stars: Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) and C-M diagrams -- surveys -- Galaxy: stellar content -- Galaxy: structure

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© ESO 2005