Special Issue for LAMOST Sciences

On the metallicity gradients of the Galactic disk as revealed by LSS-GAC red clump stars

Yang Huang, Xiao-Wei Liu, Hua-Wei Zhang, Hai-Bo Yuan, Mao-Sheng Xiang, Bing-Qiu Chen, Juan-Juan Ren, Ning-Chen Sun, Chun Wang, Yong Zhang, Yong-Hui Hou, Yue-Fei Wang, Ming Yang


Abstract Using a sample of over 70 000 red clump (RC) stars with 5%–10% distance accuracy selected from the LAMOST Spectroscopic Survey of the Galactic Anti-center (LSS-GAC), we study the radial and vertical gradients of the Galactic disk(s) mainly in the anti-center direction, covering a significant volume of the disk in the range of projected Galactocentric radius 7 ≤ RGC ≤ 14 kpc and height from the Galactic midplane 0 ≤ |Z| ≤ 3 kpc. Our analysis shows that both the radial and vertical metallicity gradients are negative across much of the volume of the disk that is probed, and they exhibit significant spatial variations. Near the solar circle (7 ≤ RGC ≤ 11.5 kpc), the radial gradient has a moderately steep, negative slope of −0.08 dex kpc−1 near the midplane (|Z| < 0.1 kpc), and the slope flattens with increasing |Z|. In the outer disk (11.5 < RGC ≤ 14 kpc), the radial gradients have an essentially constant, much less steep slope of −0.01 dex kpc−1 at all heights above the plane, suggesting that the outer disk may have experienced an evolutionary path different from that of the inner disk. The vertical gradients are found to flatten largely with increasing RGC. However, the vertical gradient of the lower disk (0 ≤ |Z| ≤ 1 kpc) is found to flatten with RGC quicker than that of the upper disk (1 < |Z| ≤ 3 kpc). Our results should provide strong constraints on the theory of disk formation and evolution, as well as the underlying physical processes that shape the disk (e.g. gas flows, radial migration, and internal and external perturbations).


Keywords Galaxy: abundances — Galaxy: disk — Galaxy: evolution — Galaxy: formation — techniques: spectroscopic

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