We present a new, high-resolution chronographic (age) map of the Milky Way’s halo, based on the inferred ages of ~130,000 field blue horizontal-branch (BHB) stars with photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Our map exhibits a strong central concentration of BHB stars with ages greater than 12 Gyr, extending up to ~15 kpc from the Galactic center (reaching close to the solar vicinity), and a decrease in the mean ages of field stars with distance by 1-1.5 Gyr out to ~45-50 kpc, along with an apparent increase of the dispersion of stellar ages, and numerous known (and previously unknown) resolved over-densities and debris streams, including the Sagittarius Stream. These results agree with expectations from modern LambdaCDM cosmological simulations, and support the existence of a dual (inner/outer) halo system, punctuated by the presence of over-densities and debris streams that have not yet completely phase-space mixed.
D. Carollo, T. Beers, V. Placco, et. al.
Mon, 1 Aug 16
Comments: Main Article: 12 pages, 4 figures; Supplemental Material: 4 pages, 1 figure. Accepted for publication on Nature Physics