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The Pristine Survey – VIII. The metallicity distribution function of the Milky Way halo down to the extremely metal-poor regime

Abstract : The Pristine survey uses narrow-band photometry to derive precise metallicities down to the extremely metal-poor regime ( [Fe/H] < -3), and currently consists of over 4 million FGK-type stars over a sky area of ˜ 2500 deg^2. We focus our analysis on a subsample of ˜80 000 main-sequence turn-off stars with heliocentric distances between 6 and 20 kpc, which we take to be a representative sample of the inner halo. The resulting metallicity distribution function (MDF) has a peak at [Fe/H] =-1.6, and a slope of Δ(LogN)/Δ [Fe/H] = 1.0 ± 0.1 in the metallicity range of -3.4 < [Fe/H] < -2.5. This agrees well with a simple closed-box chemical enrichment model in this range, but is shallower than previous spectroscopic MDFs presented in the literature, suggesting that there may be a larger proportion of metal-poor stars in the inner halo than previously reported. We identify the Monoceros/TriAnd/ACS/EBS/A13 structure in metallicity space in a low-latitude field in the anticentre direction, and also discuss the possibility that the inner halo is dominated by a single, large merger event, but cannot strongly support or refute this idea with the current data. Finally, based on the MDF of field stars, we estimate the number of expected metal-poor globular clusters in the Milky Way halo to be 5.4 for [Fe/H] < -2.5 and 1.5 for [Fe/H] < -3, suggesting that the lack of low-metallicity globular clusters in the Milky Way is not due simply to statistical undersampling.
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https://hal-obspm.ccsd.cnrs.fr/obspm-02568920
Contributor : Piercarlo Bonifacio <>
Submitted on : Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 4:58:57 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 3:28:36 AM

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K Youakim, E Starkenburg, N. Martin, G Matijevič, D Aguado, et al.. The Pristine Survey – VIII. The metallicity distribution function of the Milky Way halo down to the extremely metal-poor regime. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2020, 492 (4), pp.4986-5002. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stz3619⟩. ⟨obspm-02568920⟩

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