Publications by Ralph Schoenrich

Assessing distances and consistency of kinematics in Gaia/TGAS

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 472 (2017) 3979–3998-

RA Schönrich, M Aumer

We apply the statistical methods by Schönrich, Binney & Asplund to assess the quality of distances and kinematics in the Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE)–Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) and Large Sky Area Multiobject Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST)–TGAS samples of Solar neighbourhood stars. These methods yield a nominal distance accuracy of 1–2 per cent. Other than common tests on parallax accuracy, they directly test distance estimations including the effects of distance priors. We show how to construct these priors including the survey selection functions (SSFs) directly from the data. We demonstrate that neglecting the SSFs causes severe distance biases. Due to the decline of the SSFs in distance, the simple 1/parallax estimate only mildly underestimates distances. We test the accuracy of measured line-of-sight velocities (vlos) by binning the samples in the nominal vlos uncertainties. We find: (i) the LAMOST vlos have a ∼−5 km s−1 offset; (ii) the average LAMOST measurement error for vlos is ∼7 km s−1, significantly smaller than, and nearly uncorrelated with the nominal LAMOST estimates. The RAVE sample shows either a moderate distance underestimate, or an unaccounted source of vlos dispersion (e∥) from measurement errors and binary stars. For a subsample of suspected binary stars in RAVE, our methods indicate significant distance underestimates. Separating a sample in metallicity or kinematics to select thick-disc/halo stars, discriminates between distance bias and e∥. For LAMOST, this separation yields consistency with pure vlos measurement errors. We find an anomaly near longitude l ∼ (300 ± 60)° and distance s ∼ (0.32 ± 0.03) kpc on both sides of the galactic plane, which could be explained by either a localized distance error or a breathing mode.

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