Publications by Payel Das

Characterizing stellar halo populations II: the age gradient in blue horizontal-branch stars

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 463 (2016) 3169-3185

P Das, A Williams, J Binney

The distribution of Milky Way halo blue horizontal-branch (BHB) stars is examined using action-based extended distribution functions (EDFs) that describe the locations of stars in phase space, metallicity, and age. The parameters of the EDFs are fitted using stars observed in the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration-II (SEGUE-II) survey that traces the phase-space kinematics and chemistry out to ∼70 kpc. A maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) estimate method and a Markov Chain Monte Carlo method are applied, taking into account the selection function in positions, distance, and metallicity for the survey. The best-fitting EDF declines with actions less steeply at actions characteristic of the inner halo than at the larger actions characteristic of the outer halo, and older ages are found at smaller actions than at larger actions. In real space, the radial density profile steepens smoothly from −2 at ∼2 kpc to −4 in the outer halo, with an axis ratio ∼0.7 throughout. There is no indication for rotation in the BHBs, although this is highly uncertain. A moderate level of radial anisotropy is detected, with βs varying from isotropic to between ∼0.1 and ∼0.3 in the outer halo depending on latitude. The BHB data are consistent with an age gradient of −0.03 Gyr kpc−1, with some uncertainty in the distribution of the larger ages. These results are consistent with a scenario in which older, larger systems contribute to the inner halo, whilst the outer halo primarily comprises younger, smaller systems.

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