Identification of an [α/Fe]—enhanced thick disk component in an edge-on Milky Way analog

Nicholas Scott*, Jesse van de Sande, Sanjib Sharma, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Ken Freeman, Ortwin Gerhard, Michael R. Hayden, Richard McDermid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Milky Way disk consists of two prominent components—a thick, alpha-rich, low-metallicity component and a thin, metal-rich, low-alpha component. External galaxies have been shown to contain thin- and thick-disk components, but whether distinct components in the [α/Fe]–[Z/H] plane exist in other Milky Way-like galaxies is not yet known. We present Very Large Telescope (VLT)—Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) observations of UGC 10738, a nearby, edge-on Milky Way-like galaxy. We demonstrate through stellar population synthesis model fitting that UGC 10738 contains alpha-rich and alpha-poor stellar populations with similar spatial distributions to the same components in the Milky Way. We discuss how the finding that external galaxies also contain chemically distinct disk components may act as a significant constraint on the formation of the Milky Way’s own thin and thick disk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL11
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021


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