Escapees from the bar resonances - Presence of low-eccentricity metal-rich stars at the solar vicinity


Understanding radial migration is a crucial point for building relevant chemical and dynamical evolution models of the Milky Way disk. In this paper we analyze a high-resolution N-body simulation of a Milky Way-type galaxy to study the role that the slowing down of a stellar bar has in generating migration from the inner to the outer disk. Stellar particles are trapped by the main resonances (corotation and outer Lindblad resonance, OLR) which then propagate outward across the disk due to the bar slowing down. Once the bar strength reaches its maximum amplitude, some of the stars delivered to the outer disk escape the resonances and some of them settle on nearly circular orbits. The number of escaped stars gradually increases, also due to the decrease in the bar strength when the boxy/peanut bulge forms. We show that this mechanism is not limited to stars on nearly circular orbits; stars initially on more eccentric orbits can also be transferred outward (out to the OLR location) and can end up on nearly circular orbits. Therefore, the propagation of the bar resonances outward can induce the circularization of the orbits of some of the migrating stars. The mechanism investigated in this paper can explain the presence of metal-rich stars at the solar vicinity and more generally in the outer Galactic disk. Our dynamical model predicts that up to 3% of stars between corotation and the OLR can be formed in the innermost region of the Milky Way. The epoch of the Milky Way bar formation can be potentially constrained by analyzing the age distribution of the most metal-rich stars at the solar vicinity

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This paper was published in MPG.PuRe.

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