Thin/Thick Disk

The Long-term Evolution of the Galactic Disk Traced by Dissolving Star Clusters

The Galactic disk retains vast amount of information about how it came to be and how it evolved over cosmic time. However, we know very little about the secular processes associated with disk evolution. One major uncertainty is the extent to which stars migrate radially through the disk, thereby washing out signatures of their past (e.g., birth sites). Recent theoretical work finds that such "blurring" of the disk can be important if spiral arms are transient phenomena. Here we describe an experiment to determine the importance of diffusion from the Solar circle with cosmic time.

Galaxy Genesis - Unravelling the Epoch of Dissipation in the Early Disk

How did the Galactic disk form and can the sequence of events ever be unravelled from the vast stellar inventory? This will require that some of the residual inhomogeneities from prehistory escaped the dissipative process at an early stage. Fossil hunting to date has concentrated mostly on the stellar halo, but a key source of information will be the thick disk. This is believed to be a `snap frozen' relic which formed during or shortly after the last major epoch of dissipation, or it may have formed from infalling systems early in the life of the Galaxy.

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