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The Gaia-ESO Survey: matching chemodynamical simulations to observations of the Milky Way

Thompson, B. B.; Few, C. G.; Bergemann, M.; Gibson, B. K.; MacFarlane, B. A.; Serenelli, A.; Gilmore, G.; Randich, S.; Vallenari, A.; Alfaro, E. J.; Bensby, T.; Francois, P.; Korn, A. J.; Bayo, A.; Carraro, G.; Casey, A. R.; Costado, M. T.; Donati, P.; Franciosini, E.; Frasca, A.; Hourihane, A.; Jofré, P.; Hill, V.; Heiter, U.; Koposov, S. E.; Lanzafame, A.; Lardo, C.; de Laverny, P.; Lewis, J.; Magrini, L.; Marconi, G.; Masseron, T.; Monaco, L.; Morbidelli, L.; Pancino, E.; Prisinzano, L.; Recio-Blanco, A.; Sacco, G.; Sousa, S. G.; Tautvaišienė, G.; Worley, C. C.; Zaggia, S.


B. B. Thompson

M. Bergemann

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Professor Brad Gibson
Head of Dept, Physics & Maths; Director, E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics

B. A. MacFarlane

A. Serenelli

G. Gilmore

S. Randich

A. Vallenari

E. J. Alfaro

T. Bensby

P. Francois

A. J. Korn

A. Bayo

G. Carraro

A. R. Casey

M. T. Costado

P. Donati

E. Franciosini

A. Frasca

A. Hourihane

P. Jofré

V. Hill

U. Heiter

S. E. Koposov

A. Lanzafame

C. Lardo

P. de Laverny

J. Lewis

L. Magrini

G. Marconi

T. Masseron

L. Monaco

L. Morbidelli

E. Pancino

L. Prisinzano

A. Recio-Blanco

G. Sacco

S. G. Sousa

G. Tautvaišienė

C. C. Worley

S. Zaggia


The typical methodology for comparing simulated galaxies with observational surveys is usually to apply a spatial selection to the simulation to mimic the region of interest covered by a comparable observational survey sample. In this work, we compare this approach with a more sophisticated post-processing in which the observational uncertainties and selection effects (photometric, surface gravity and effective temperature) are taken into account. We compare a 'solar neighbourhood analogue' region in a model Milky Way-like galaxy simulated with RAMSES-CH with fourth release Gaia-ESO survey data. We find that a simple spatial cut alone is insufficient and that the observational uncertainties must be accounted for in the comparison. This is particularly true when the scale of uncertainty is large compared to the dynamic range of the data, e.g. in our comparison, the [Mg/Fe] distribution is affected much more than the more accurately determined [Fe/H] distribution. Despite clear differences in the underlying distributions of elemental abundances between simulation and observation, incorporating scatter to our simulation results to mimic observational uncertainty produces reasonable agreement. The quite complete nature of the Gaia-ESO survey means that the selection function has minimal impact on the distribution of observed age and metal abundances but this would become increasingly more important for surveys with narrower selection functions.


Thompson, B. B., Few, C. G., Bergemann, M., Gibson, B. K., MacFarlane, B. A., Serenelli, A., …Zaggia, S. (2018). The Gaia-ESO Survey: matching chemodynamical simulations to observations of the Milky Way. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 473(1), 185-197.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 11, 2017
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Deposit Date Sep 11, 2017
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 473
Issue 1
Pages 185-197
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement © 2017 The Authors