Volume 578, June 2015
|Number of page(s)
|04 June 2015
Quantifying stellar radial migration in an N-body simulation: blurring, churning, and the outer regions of galaxy discs
1 Observatoire de Paris, GEPI, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
2 Observatoire de Paris, LERMA, 61 Av. de l’Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
3 UPMC-CNRS, UMR7095, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
Received: 4 January 2015
Accepted: 27 April 2015
Radial stellar migration in galactic discs has received much attention in studies of galactic dynamics and chemical evolution, but remains a dynamical phenomenon that needs to be fully quantified. In this work, using a Tree-SPH simulation of an Sb-type disc galaxy, we quantify the effects of blurring (epicyclic excursions) and churning (change of guiding radius). We quantify migration (either blurring or churning) both in terms of flux (the number of migrators passing at a given radius), and by estimating the population of migrators at a given radius at the end of the simulation compared to non-migrators, but also by giving the distance over which the migration is effective at all radii. We confirm that the corotation of the bar is the main source of migrators by churning in a bar-dominated galaxy, its intensity being directly linked to the episode of a strong bar, in the first 1–3 Gyr of the simulation. We show that within the outer Lindblad resonance (OLR), migration is strongly dominated by churning, while blurring gains progressively more importance towards the outer disc and at later times. Most importantly, we show that the OLR limits the exchange of angular momentum, separating the disc in two distinct parts with minimal or null exchange, except in the transition zone, which is delimited by the position of the OLR at the epoch of the formation of the bar, and at the final epoch. We discuss the consequences of these findings for our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way disc. Because the Sun is situated slightly outside the OLR, we suggest that the solar vicinity may have experienced very limited churning from the inner disc.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / galaxies: formation / galaxies: structure / galaxies: spiral / Galaxy: stellar content
© ESO, 2015
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