Apr 27, 2017
Sarah Loebman, University of Michigan
"Simulating the Evolving Milky Way: From Disk to Halo"
The Milky Way is the most observationally accessible galaxy in our Universe. In many ways it is also a "typical galaxy," making it an important benchmark for studying galaxy formation. For this reason, uncovering the formation history of the Milky Way is the key goal of major ongoing surveys such as APOGEE and Gaia. However, observations of the Milky Way span a complex multi-dimensional space which necessitates sophisticated modeling to interpret. In this talk, I will highlight some recent achievements utilizing state-of-the-art simulations to aid in our exploration of the Milky Way's formation and evolution. In particular, I will discuss recent APOGEE observations of the Milky Way's disk and the role radial migration has played in redistributing stars within it. I will also discuss observations and simulations of kinematics in the Milky Way's stellar halo, emphasizing how measurements of kinematic moments hold power for constraining the merger history of the Milky Way. Finally, I will discuss a strong prediction of LCDM - that stellar halos are radially anisotropic - and I will highlight the potential Gaia holds for testing this prediction in the Milky Way.