The chemical evolution of the Monoceros Ring/Galactic Anticenter Stellar Structure

Mei Yin Chou, Steven R. Majewski, Katia Cunha, Verne V. Smith, Richard J. Patterson, David Martínez-Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The origin of the Galactic Anticenter Stellar Structure (GASS) or "Monoceros Ring" - a low-latitude overdensity at the edge of the Galactic disk spanning at least the second and third Galactic quadrants - remains controversial. Models for the origin of GASS generally fall into scenarioswhere either it is a part (e.g.,warp) of theGalactic disk or it represents tidal debris from the disruption of a MilkyWay (MW) satellite galaxy. To further constrain models for the origin of GASS, we derive chemical abundance patterns from high-resolution spectra for 21 M giants spatially and kinematically identified with it. The abundances of the (mostly) α-element, titanium, and s-process elements, yttrium and lanthanum, for these GASS stars are found to be lower at the same [Fe/H] than those forMWstars, but similar to those of stars in the Sagittarius stream, other dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and the Large Magellanic Cloud. This demonstrates that GASS stars have a chemical enrichment history typical of dwarf galaxies - and unlike those of typical MW stars (at least MW stars near the Sun). Nevertheless, these abundance results cannot definitively rule out the possibility that GASS was dynamically created out of a previously formed, outer MW disk because ΛCDM-based structure formation models show that galactic disks grow outward by accretion of dwarf galaxies. On the other hand, the chemical patterns seen in GASS stars do provide striking verification that accretion of dwarf galaxies has indeed happened at the edge of the MW disk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L5-L10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxy: evolution
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: structure
  • Stars: abundances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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