Evolution over time of the Milky Way’s disc shape
1 UEFS, Departamento de Física, Av. Transnordestina, S/N, Novo Horizonte, Feira de Santana, CEP 44036-900, BA, Brazil
2 Institut UTINAM, CNRS UMR 6213, Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers THETA Franche-Comté Bourgogne, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 41bis avenue de l’Observatoire, 25000 Besançon, France
Received: 8 March 2016
Accepted: 30 December 2016
Context. Galactic structure studies can be used as a path to constrain the scenario of formation and evolution of our Galaxy. The dependence with the age of stellar population parameters would be linked with the history of star formation and dynamical evolution.
Aims. We aim to investigate the structures of the outer Galaxy, such as the scale length, disc truncation, warp and flare of the thin disc and study their dependence with age by using 2MASS data and a population synthesis model (the so-called Besançon Galaxy Model).
Methods. We have used a genetic algorithm to adjust the parameters on the observed colour–magnitude diagrams at longitudes 80° ≤ ℓ ≤ 280° for | b | ≤ 5.5°. We explored parameter degeneracies and uncertainties.
Results. We identify a clear dependence of the thin disc scale length, warp and flare shapes with age. The scale length is found to vary between 3.8 kpc for the youngest to about 2 kpc for the oldest. The warp shows a complex structure, clearly asymmetrical with a node angle changing with age from approximately 165° for old stars to 195° for young stars. The outer disc is also flaring with a scale height that varies by a factor of two between the solar neighbourhood and a Galactocentric distance of 12 kpc.
Conclusions. We conclude that the thin disc scale length is in good agreement with the inside-out formation scenario and that the outer disc is not in dynamical equilibrium. The warp deformation with time may provide some clues to its origin.
Key words: Galaxy: fundamental parameters / Galaxy: evolution / Galaxy: formation / Galaxy: general / Galaxy: stellar content / Galaxy: structure
© ESO, 2017