Volume 629, September 2019
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||28 August 2019|
Letter to the Editor
Gaia DR2 white dwarfs in the Hercules stream
Departament de Física, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, c/Esteve Terrades 5, 08860 Castelldefels, Spain
2 Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia, c/Gran Capità 2-4, Edif. Nexus 104, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
3 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, UNLP-CONICET, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
5 Institut de Ciències del Cosmos, Universitat de Barcelona (IEEC-UB), Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
6 Industrial and Informatic Systems Deparment, EPF - École d’Ingénieurs, 21 boulevard Berthelot, 34000 Montpellier, France
7 European Space Astronomy Centre (ESA/ESAC), Operations Deparment, Villanueva de la Cañada, 28692 Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 7 August 2019
Aims. We analyzed the velocity space of the thin- and thick-disk Gaia white dwarf population within 100 pc by searching for signatures of the Hercules stellar stream. We aimed to identify objects belonging to the Hercules stream, and by taking advantage of white dwarf stars as reliable cosmochronometers, to derive a first age distribution.
Methods. We applied a kernel density estimation to the UV velocity space of white dwarfs. For the region where a clear overdensity of stars was found, we created a 5D space of dynamic variables. We applied a hierarchichal clustering method, HDBSCAN, to this 5D space, and identified those white dwarfs that share similar kinematic characteristics. Finally, under general assumptions and from their photometric properties, we derived an age estimate for each object.
Results. The Hercules stream was first revealed as an overdensity in the UV velocity space of the thick-disk white dwarf population. Three substreams were then found: Hercules a and Hercules b, formed by thick-disk stars with an age distribution that peaked 4 Gyr in the past and extends to very old ages; and Hercules c, with a ratio of 65:35 of thin to thick stars and a more uniform age distribution that is younger than 10 Gyr.
Key words: white dwarfs / Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics / solar neighborhood / methods: data analysis
© ESO 2019
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