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STScI Webcast

2018 Spring Science Colloquia

Simulating the Milky Way and Its Satellites

Presented by: Andrew Wetzel (University of California-Davis)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 1 hour   Broadcast date: December 12, 2018
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I will present the Latte suite of cosmological zoom-in baryonic simulations that model the formation of Milky Way-like galaxies at parsec-scale resolution, using the FIRE (Feedback in Realistic Environments) model for star formation and feedback. First I will discuss the formation of the Milky Way, including the origin of its thin+thick stellar disk morphology and new insights into the elemental abundances of its stellar populations. I also will present predictions for the oldest and most metal-poor stars in/around the Milky Way. The Latte simulations also self-consistently resolve the formation of satellite dwarf galaxies around each Milky Way-like host. While these low-mass galaxies have presented significant challenges to the cold dark matter model, I will show progress in addressing the "missing satellites" and "too-big-to-fail" problems. I also will present predictions for the orbital and star-formation histories of these satellites, and discuss a new long-term HST Treasury program to measure proper motions and star-formation histories for all known satellites of the Milky Way. Finally, I will discuss the synthetic Milky Way surveys that we have created from the Latte simulations, which are publicly available to provide theoretical modeling insight for the era of Gaia.