In the thick of it: metal-poor disc stars in RAVE

By selecting in the RAVE-DR4 survey the stars located between 1 and 2 kpc above the Galactic plane, we question the consistency of the simplest three-component model (thin disc, thick disc, halo) for the Milky Way. We confirm that the metallicity and azimuthal velocity distribution functions of the thick disc are not Gaussian. In particular, we find that the thick disc has an extended metallicity tail going at least down to [M/H]=-2 dex, contributing roughly at 3% of the entire thick disc population and having a shorter scale-length compared to the canonical thick disc. The mean azimuthal velocity of these metal-poor stars allows us to estimate the correlation between the metallicity and the orbital velocity, which is an important constraint on the formation mechanisms of the Galactic thick disc. Given our simple approach, we find dVphi/d[M/H] ~ 50 km/s/dex, which is in a very good agreement with previous literature values. We complete the study with a brief discussion on the implications of the formation scenarios for the thick disc, and suggest that given the above mentioned characteristics, a thick disc mainly formed by radial migration mechanisms seems unlikely.

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Date added: Wed, 9 Oct 13