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Thomas Bensby. Profile photo.

Thomas Bensby

Senior lecturer

Thomas Bensby. Profile photo.

The Gaia-ESO Survey: metallicity and kinematic trends in the Milky Way bulge


  • A. Rojas-Arriagada
  • A. Recio-Blanco
  • V. Hill
  • P. de Laverny
  • M. Schultheis
  • C. Babusiaux
  • M. Zoccali
  • D. Minniti
  • O. A. Gonzalez
  • Sofia Feltzing
  • G. Gilmore
  • S. Randich
  • A. Vallenari
  • E. J. Alfaro
  • Thomas Bensby
  • A. Bragaglia
  • E. Flaccomio
  • A. C. Lanzafame
  • E. Pancino
  • R. Smiljanic
  • M. Bergemann
  • M. T. Costado
  • F. Damiani
  • A. Hourihane
  • P. Jofre
  • C. Lardo
  • L. Magrini
  • E. Maiorca
  • L. Morbidelli
  • L. Sbordone
  • C. C. Worley
  • S. Zaggia
  • R. Wyse

Summary, in English

Aims. Observational studies of the Milky Way bulge are providing increasing evidence of its complex chemo-dynamical patterns and morphology. Our intent is to use the iDR1 Gaia-ESO Survey (GES) data set to provide new constraints on the metallicity and kinematic trends of the Galactic bulge, exploring the viability of the currently proposed formation scenarios. Methods. We analyzed the stellar parameters and radial velocities of similar to 1200 stars in five bulge fields wich are located in the region -10 degrees < / < 7 degrees and -10 degrees < b < -4 degrees. We use VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) photometry to verify the internal consistency of the atmospheric parameters recommended by the consortium. As a by-product, we obtained reddening values using a semi-empirical Tdf -color calibration. We constructed the metallicity distribution functions and combined them with photometric and radial velocity data to analyze the properties of the stellar populations in the observed fields. Results. From a Gaussian decomposition of the metallicity distribution functions, we unveil a clear bimodality in all fields, with the relative size of components depending of the specific position on the sky. In agreement with some previous studies, we find a mild gradient along the minor axis (-0.05 dex/deg between b = -6 degrees and b = -10 degrees) that arises from the varying proportion of metal-rich and metal-poor components. The number of metal-rich stars fades in favor of the metal-poor stars with increasing b. The K-magnitude distribution of the metal-rich population splits into two peaks for two of the analyzed fields that intersects the near and far branches of the X-shaped bulge structure. In addition, two lateral fields at (l,b) = (7, -9) and (l, b) = (-10, 8) present contrasting characteristics. In the former, the metallicity distribution is dominated by metal-rich stars, while in the latter it presents a mix of a metal-poor population and and a metal-intermediate one, of nearly equal sizes. Finally, we find systematic differences in the velocity dispersion between the metal-rich and the metal-poor components of each field. Conclusions. The iDR I bulge data show chemo-dynamical distributions that are consistent with varying proportions of stars belonging to (i) a metal-rich boxy/peanut X-shaped component, with bar-like kinematics; and (ii) a metal-poor more extended rotating structure with a higher velocity dispersion that dominates far from the Galactic plane. These first GES data already allow studying the detailed spatial dependence of the Galactic bulge populations, thanks to the analysis of individual fields with relatively high statistics.


  • Lund Observatory - Has been reorganised

Publishing year





Astronomy & Astrophysics



Document type

Journal article


EDP Sciences


  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Galaxy: formation
  • Galaxy: abundances
  • Galaxy: bulge
  • Galaxy: stellar
  • content
  • stars: abundances




  • Gaia-ESO Survey


  • ISSN: 0004-6361