Galactic Archaeology with TESS: Prospects for Testing the Star Formation History in the Solar Neighbourhood
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
2 Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, Aarhus C, DK-8000, Denmark
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, I-35122, Padova, Italy
⋆ e-mail: email@example.com
Published online: 27 October 2017
A period of quenching between the formation of the thick and thin disks of the Milky Way has been recently proposed to explain the observed age-[α/Fe] distribution of stars in the solar neighbourhood. However, robust constraints on stellar ages are currently available for only a limited number of stars. The all-sky survey TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) will observe the brightest stars in the sky and thus can be used to investigate the age distributions of stars in these components of the Galaxy via asteroseismology, where previously this has been diffcult using other techniques. The aim of this preliminary study was to determine whether TESS will be able to provide evidence for quenching periods during the star formation history of the Milky Way. Using a population synthesis code, we produced populations based on various stellar formation history models and limited the analysis to red-giant-branch stars. We investigated the mass-Galactic-disk-height distributions, where stellar mass was used as an age proxy, to test for whether periods of quenching can be observed by TESS. We found that even with the addition of 15% noise to the inferred masses, it will be possible for TESS to find evidence for/against quenching periods suggested in the literature (e.g. between 7 and 9 Gyr ago), therefore providing stringent constraints on the formation and evolution of the Milky Way.
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