The velocity distribution of nearby stars from hipparcos data. II. the nature of the low-velocity moving groups

Jo Bovy, David W. Hogg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The velocity distribution of nearby stars (≲100pc) contains many overdensities or "moving groups," clumps of comoving stars, that are inconsistent with the standard assumption of an axisymmetric, time-independent, and steady-state Galaxy. We study the age and metallicity properties of the low-velocity moving groups based on the reconstruction of the local velocity distribution in Paper I of this series. We perform stringent, conservative hypothesis testing to establish for each of these moving groups whether it could conceivably consist of a coeval population of stars. We conclude that they do not: the moving groups are neither trivially associated with their eponymous open clusters nor with any other inhomogeneous star formation event. Concerning a possible dynamical origin of the moving groups, we test whether any of the moving groups has a higher or lower metallicity than the background population of thin disk stars, as would generically be the case if the moving groups are associated with resonances of the bar or spiral structure. We find clear evidence that the Hyades moving group has higher than average metallicity and weak evidence that the Sirius moving group has lower than average metallicity, which could indicate that these two groups are related to the inner Lindblad resonance of the spiral structure. Further, we find weak evidence that the Hercules moving group has higher than average metallicity, as would be the case if it is associated with the bar's outer Lindblad resonance. The Pleiades moving group shows no clear metallicity anomaly, arguing against a common dynamical origin for the Hyades and Pleiades groups. Overall, however, the moving groups are barely distinguishable from the background population of stars, raising the likelihood that the moving groups are associated with transient perturbations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)617-639
    Number of pages23
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume717
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Methods: statistical
    • galaxy: fundamental parameters
    • galaxy: kinematics and dynamics
    • galaxy: structure
    • solar neighborhood
    • stars: kinematics and dynamics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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