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Disentangling the Hercules Stream

T. Bensby, M.S. Oey, S. Feltzing, & B. Gustafsson

Using high-resolution spectra of nearby F and G dwarf stars, we have investigated the detailed abundance and age structure of the Hercules stream. We find that the stars in the stream have a wide range of stellar ages, metallicities, and element abundances. By comparing to existing samples of stars in the solar neighbourhood with kinematics typical of the Galactic thin and thick disks we find that the properties of the Hercules stream distinctly separate into the abundance and age trends of the two disks. Hence, we find it unlikely that the Hercules stream is a unique Galactic stellar population, but rather a mixture of thin and thick disk stars. This points toward a dynamical origin for the Hercules stream, probably caused by the Galactic bar.

ApJ Letters, 655, L89

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