The GALAH survey and Gaia DR2: dissecting the stellar disc's phase space by age, action, chemistry, and location

GALAH Team, Joss Bland-Hawthorn*, Sanjib Sharma, Thor Tepper-Garcia, James Binney, Ken C. Freeman, Michael R. Hayden, Janez Kos, Gayandhi M. De Silva, Simon Ellis, Geraint F. Lewis, Martin Asplund, Sven Buder, Andrew R. Casey, Valentina D'Orazi, Ly Duong, Shourya Khanna, Jane Lin, Karin Lind, Sarah L. MartellMelissa K. Ness, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Daniel B. Zucker, Tomaž Zwitter, Prajwal R. Kafle, Alice C. Quillen, Yuan-Sen Ting, Rosemary F. G. Wyse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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We use the second data releases of the European Space Agency Gaia astrometric survey and the high-resolution Galactic Archaeology with HERMES (GALAH) spectroscopic survey to analyse the structure of our Galaxy's disc components. With GALAH, we separate the alpha-rich and alpha-poor discs (with respect to Fe), which are superposed in both position and velocity space, and examine their distributions in action space. We study the distribution of stars in the zV(z) phase plane, for both V-phi and V-R, and recover the remarkable 'phase spiral' discovered by Gaia. We identify the anticipated quadrupole signature in zV(z) of a tilted velocity ellipsoid for stars above and belowtheGalactic plane. By connecting ourwork with earlier studies, we show that the phase spiral is likely to extend well beyond the narrow solar neighbourhood cylinder in which it was found. The phase spiral is a signature of corrugated waves that propagate through the disc, and the associated non-equilibrium phase mixing. The radially asymmetric distribution of stars involved in the phase spiral reveals that the corrugation, which is mostly confined to the alpha-poor disc, grows in z-amplitude with increasing radius. We present new simulations of tidal disturbance of the Galactic disc by the Sagittarius (Sgr) dwarf. The effect on the zV(z) phase plane lasts greater than or similar to 2 Gyr, but a subsequent disc crossing wipes out the coherent structure. We find that the phase spiral was excited less than or similar to 0.5 Gyr ago by an object like Sgr with total mass similar to 3 x 10(10) M-circle dot (stripped down from similar to 5 x 10(10) M-circle dot when it first entered the halo) passing through the plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1191
Number of pages25
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 486, Issue 1, June 2019, Pages 1167–1191, Copyright 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


  • astrometry
  • proper motions
  • stars: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxy: disc, evolution, structure


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