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Oscar Agertz. Profile photo.

Oscar Agertz

Associate Professor / Senior university lecturer / Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Oscar Agertz. Profile photo.

Constraining churning and blurring in the Milky Way using large spectroscopic surveys - An exploratory study


  • Sofia Feltzing
  • J. Bradley Bowers
  • Oscar Agertz

Summary, in English

We have investigated the possibilities to quantify how much stars move in theMilkyWay disc due to diffuse processes (blurring) and due to influences from spiral arms and the bar (churning). We assume that the formation radius of a star can be inferred if we know its elemental abundances and age and the metallicity profile of the interstellar medium at the time of the star's formation. We use data for red giant branch stars from APOGEE DR14, parallaxes from Gaia, and stellar ages based on the C and N abundances. In our sample, we find that half of the stars have experienced some sort of radial migration, 10 per cent likely have suffered only from churning, and a modest 5-7 per cent have never experienced either churning or blurring making them ideal tracers of the original properties of the cool stellar disc. To arrive at these numbers, we imposed the requirement that the stars that are considered to be churned have highly circular orbits. If instead we require that the star has moved away from its formation position and at the same time that its Galactocentric radius at formation did not fall between the apo- and pericentre of its orbit today, we find that about half of the stars have undergone a radial migration. We have thus shown that it is possible to put up a framework to quantify churning and blurring. Future work includes investigations of how selection effects influence the results.


  • Lund Observatory - Has been reorganised
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration

Publishing year







Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society





Document type

Journal article


Oxford University Press


  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Galaxy: evolution
  • ISM: abundances
  • Stars: kinematics and dynamics




  • ISSN: 0035-8711