Using APOGEE wide binaries to test chemical tagging with dwarf stars

Jeff J. Andrews, Borja Anguiano, Julio Chanamé, Marcel A. Agüeros, Hannah M. Lewis, Christian R. Hayes, Steven R. Majewski

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    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Stars of a common origin are thought to have similar, if not nearly identical, chemistry. Chemical tagging seeks to exploit this fact to identify Milky Way subpopulations through their unique chemical fingerprints. In this work, we compare the chemical abundances of dwarf stars in wide binaries to test the abundance consistency of stars of a common origin. Our sample of 31 wide binaries is identified from a catalog produced by cross-matching Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment spectroscopic survey (APOGEE) stars with UCAC5 astrometry, and we confirm the fidelity of this sample with precision parallaxes from Gaia DR2. For as many as 14 separate elements, we compare the abundances between components of our wide binaries, finding they have very similar chemistry (typically within 0.1 dex). This level of consistency is more similar than can be expected from stars with different origins (which show typical abundance differences of 0.3-0.4 dex within our sample). For the best-measured elements, Fe, Si, K, Ca, Mn, and Ni, these differences are reduced to 0.05-0.08 dex when selecting pairs of dwarf stars with similar temperatures. Our results suggest that APOGEE dwarf stars may currently be used for chemical tagging at the level of ∼0.1 dex or at the level of ∼0.05 dex when restricting for the best-measured elements in stars of similar temperatures. Larger wide binary catalogs may provide calibration sets, in complement to open cluster samples, for ongoing spectroscopic surveys.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number42
    Number of pages15
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2019


    • binaries: visual
    • Galaxy: structure
    • stars: abundances


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