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Chemical Tagging Can Work: Identification of Stellar Phase-space Structures Purely by Chemical-abundance Similarity

Hogg, David W. and Casey, Andrew R. and Ness, Melissa and Rix, Hans-Walter and Foreman-Mackey, Daniel and Hasselquist, Sten and Ho, Anna Y. Q. and Holtzman, Jon A. and Majewski, Steven R. and Martell, Sarah L. and Mészáros, Szabolcs and Nidever, David L. and Shetrone, Matthew (2016) Chemical Tagging Can Work: Identification of Stellar Phase-space Structures Purely by Chemical-abundance Similarity. Astrophysical Journal, 833 (2). Art. No. 262. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/833/2/262.

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Chemical tagging promises to use detailed abundance measurements to identify spatially separated stars that were, in fact, born together (in the same molecular cloud) long ago. This idea has not yielded much practical success, presumably because of the noise and incompleteness in chemical-abundance measurements. We have succeeded in substantially improving spectroscopic measurements with The Cannon, which has now delivered 15 individual abundances for ~10^5 stars observed as part of the APOGEE spectroscopic survey, with precisions around 0.04 dex. We test the chemical-tagging hypothesis by looking at clusters in abundance space and confirming that they are clustered in phase space. We identify (by the k-means algorithm) overdensities of stars in the 15-dimensional chemical-abundance space delivered by The Cannon, and plot the associated stars in phase space. We use only abundance-space information (no positional information) to identify stellar groups. We find that clusters in abundance space are indeed clusters in phase space, and we recover some known phase-space clusters and find other interesting structures. This is the first-ever project to identify phase-space structures at the survey-scale by blind search purely in abundance space; it verifies the precision of the abundance measurements delivered by The Cannon; the prospects for future data sets appear very good.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Hogg, David W.0000-0003-2866-9403
Casey, Andrew R.0000-0003-0174-0564
Ness, Melissa0000-0001-5082-6693
Rix, Hans-Walter0000-0003-4996-9069
Foreman-Mackey, Daniel0000-0002-9328-5652
Ho, Anna Y. Q.0000-0002-9017-3567
Majewski, Steven R.0000-0003-2025-3147
Additional Information:© 2016 American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 January 20. Accepted 2016 August 23. Published 2016 December 20. It is a pleasure to thank the anonymous referee for useful comments that have led to improvements in the manuscript. We also thank Joss Bland-Hawthorn (Sydney), Jo Bovy (Toronto), Charlie Conroy (Harvard), Katia Cunha (NOAO), Amina Helmi (Kapteyn), Jeremy Magland (SCDA), Don Schneider (PSU), Keivan Stassun (Vanderbilt), Angus Williams (Cambridge), and the Blanton–Hogg group meeting for valuable discussions and comments. This project was funded in part by the NSF (grants IIS-1124794, AST-1312863, AST-1517237), NASA (grant NNX12AI50G), the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environment at NYU, the Australian Research Council (DECRA Fellowship DE140100598), and the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP 7) ERC Grant Agreement No. [320360, 321035]). This research made use of the NASA Astrophysics Data System. This project made use of SDSS-III data. Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III web site is SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, Harvard University, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NYU Moore-Sloan Data Science EnvironmentUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilDE140100598
European Research Council (ERC)320360
European Research Council (ERC)321035
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Galaxy: abundances; Galaxy: stellar content; Galaxy: structure; globular clusters: general; open clusters and associations: general; stars: abundances
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161220-091336624
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Official Citation:David W. Hogg et al 2016 ApJ 833 262
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72964
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 18:58
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:09

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