Dr. Victor Debattista: The impact of, and evidence for, stellar migration in disk galaxies
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The impact of, and evidence for, stellar migration in disk galaxies
Dr. Victor Debattista, Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Until recently it was thought that stars remain at the same radius at which they are born all their lives. The realisation that spiral arms can move stars around in radius, without appreciably heating the disks, changed all that. This result is driving a paradigm shift in our understanding of disk galaxies and how they are assembled. Stellar migration complicates efforts at galactic archaeology, which is one of the principal goals of many large upcoming surveys, such as LSST and Gaia.
Migration has important consequences for interpreting the implied gas accretion rate, the Galactic orbit of the Sun, the fossil evidence of stellar accretion, and the Galactic ``habitable zone''. Thus assessing to what extent stellar migration has affected the Milky Way's disc is vitally important if we are to understand galaxy formation.