Description: Stars do not form alone in isolation, but in clustered environments surrounded by between several tens to several millions of stars. The evolution and eventual dissolution of these systems has been shown to depend strongly on the properties of their host galaxy. In the era of advanced cosmological simulations that resolve star formation sites and large observational surveys, it is now possible to search for and study dissolved stellar systems. I will discuss how stellar streams and co-moving groups of stars can be identified with stellar kinematics and through chemically tagging stars with similar abundances. Once detected, these systems can be used to constrain the Milky Way’s star formation history, merger history, and present day structure. Closer to home, it is even possible to identify stars that formed within the same giant molecular cloud as the Sun. With the help of N-body simulations and observations from Gaia and APOGEE, I will outline what the dissolved stellar systems of the Milky Way reveal about its past and present.
Speaker: Dr. Jeremy Webb
Institution: Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Host: James Wadsley