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Evolution of spiral galaxies. 3: Application of the multiphase model to the galactic disk
Ferrini, Federico; Molla, Mercedes; Pardi, Maria Chiara; Diaz, Angeles I.
AA(Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy), AB(Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy), AC(Univ di Milano, Milano, Italy), AD(Univ di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 427, no. 2, p. 745-758 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Abundance, Astronomical Models, Disks (Shapes), Galactic Evolution, Galactic Halos, Interstellar Chemistry, Metallicity, Milky Way Galaxy, Solar Neighborhood, Gradients, Interstellar Gas, Molecular Clouds, Radial Distribution, Radial Flow, Star Formation Rate
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We present an application of the multiphase model of Ferrini and coworkers, developed for the solar neighborhood, to other regions of the disk of the Galaxy in order to reproduce the observed element abundance gradients. The model describes the Galaxy as a two-zone system (halo and disk) sliced into nine cylindrical concentric regions and studies the time evolution of the five populations which inhabit the Milky Way: diffuse gas, molecular clouds, low-mass (m less than 4 M solar masses) and high-mass stars, and stellar remnants. Our final aim is to reproduce the metallicity gradients that are observed in the Milky Way and in other external galaxies. We analyze the evolution of these gradients in time in order to relate their behavior to other galactic quantities such as the star formation rate and the infall rate. The model describes the Galaxy by fitting a large number of observational constraints: abundance gradients, age-metallicity relations for disk and halo, both gas and mass distributions (including radial differences in the characteristic shapes of atomic and molecular gas), and radial distribution and history of star formation rate. The time evolution of abundance gradients is computed, revealing a flattening of gradients with time. In particular, the oxygen abundance was steeper at early times as a consequence of a larger infall. Since the disk is evolving and the gas is consumed, a saturation level is reached in every ring and the gradient will decrease to a minimum value.

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