Galactic kinematics with RAVE data

Veltz, L.; Bienaymé, O.; Freeman, K. C.; Binney, J.; Bland-Hawthorn, J.; Gibson, B. K.; Gilmore, G.; Grebel, G. K.; Helmi, A.; Munari, U.; Navarro, J. F.; Parker, Q. A.; Seabroke, G. M.; Siebert, A.; Steinmetz, M.; Watson, F. G.; Williams, M.; Wyse, R. F. G. and Zwitter, T. (2008). Galactic kinematics with RAVE data. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 480(3) pp. 753–765.



We analyze the distribution of G and K type stars towards the Galactic poles using RAVE and ELODIE radial velocities, 2MASS photometric star counts, and UCAC2 proper motions. The combination of photometric and 3D kinematic data allows us to disentangle and describe the vertical distribution of dwarfs, sub-giants and giants and their kinematics.

We identify discontinuities within the kinematics and magnitude counts that separate the thin disk, thick disk and a hotter component. The respective scale heights of the thin disk and thick disk are 225 ± 10 pc and 1048 ± 36 pc. We also constrain the luminosity function and the kinematic distribution function. The existence of a kinematic gap between the thin and thick disks is incompatible with the thick disk having formed from the thin disk by a continuous process, such as scattering of stars by spiral arms or molecular clouds. Other mechanisms of formation of the thick disk such as "created on the spot" or smoothly "accreted" remain compatible with our findings.

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