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G. Gilmore (IoA, Cambridge), J.E. Norris (RSAA, ANU), R.F.G. Wyse (JHU), K.C. Freeman (RSAA, ANU)
Stellar populations are the fossil record of the evolution of galaxies. Interpretation of this record as traced by the kinematics and chemical abundances of old stars in our Milky Way Galaxy allows determination of the dominant physics controlling the evolution of a typical large galaxy. This complements direct, but necessarily limited, data on proto-galaxies observed at high redshifts. Here we present radial velocities and chemical abundances for over 2000 faint F/G stars selected to be turn-off stars several kiloparsecs above the Galactic plane, in the direction against solar rotation. Our new data (obtained with the 2dF multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope) allow us to reconcile several outstanding inconsistencies in understanding the Milky Way. Our Galaxy is both more complex and more simple than previously believed.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.