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The dual origin of the Galactic thick disc and halo from the gas-rich Gaia-Enceladus Sausage merger

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Grand,  Robert J. J.
Galaxy Formation, Cosmology, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Fragkoudi,  Francesca
Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Pakmor,  Rüdiger
Stellar Astrophysics, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Grand, R. J. J., Kawata, D., Belokurov, V., Deason, A. J., Fattahi, A., Fragkoudi, F., et al. (2020). The dual origin of the Galactic thick disc and halo from the gas-rich Gaia-Enceladus Sausage merger. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497(2), 1603-1618. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa2057.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-B34A-C
Abstract
We analyse a set of cosmological magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the formation of Milky Way-mass galaxies identified to have a prominent radially anisotropic stellar halo component similar to the so-called ‘Gaia Sausage’ found in the Gaia data. We examine the effects of the progenitor of the Sausage (the Gaia–Enceladus Sausage, GES) on the formation of major galactic components analogous to the Galactic thick disc and inner stellar halo. We find that the GES merger is likely to have been gas-rich and contribute 10–50 per cent of gas to a merger-induced centrally concentrated starburst that results in the rapid formation of a compact, rotationally supported thick disc that occupies the typical chemical thick disc region of chemical abundance space. We find evidence that gas-rich mergers heated the proto-disc of the Galaxy, scattering stars on to less-circular orbits such that their rotation velocity and metallicity positively correlate, thus contributing an additional component that connects the Galactic thick disc to the inner stellar halo. We demonstrate that the level of kinematic heating of the proto-galaxy correlates with the kinematic state of the population before the merger, the progenitor mass, and orbital eccentricity of the merger. Furthermore, we show that the mass and time of the merger can be accurately inferred from local stars on counter-rotating orbits.