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The $\textit{Gaia}$-ESO Survey: the present-day radial metallicity distribution of the Galactic disc probed by pre-main-sequence clusters

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Spina, L 
Randich, S 
Magrini, L 
Jeffries, RD 
Friel, ED 


Context. The radial metallicity distribution in the Galactic thin disc represents a crucial constraint for modelling disc formation and evolution. Open star clusters allow us to derive both the radial metallicity distribution and its evolution over time.

Aims. In this paper we perform the first investigation of the present-day radial metallicity distribution based on [Fe/H] determinations in late type members of pre-main-sequence clusters. Because of their youth, these clusters are therefore essential for tracing the current interstellar medium metallicity.

Methods. We used the products of the Gaia-ESO Survey analysis of 12 young regions (age < 100 Myr), covering Galactocentric distances from 6.67 to 8.70 kpc. For the first time, we derived the metal content of star forming regions farther than 500 pc from the Sun. Median metallicities were determined through samples of reliable cluster members. For ten clusters the membership analysis is discussed in the present paper, while for other two clusters (i.e. Chamaeleon I and Gamma Velorum) we adopted the members identified in our previous works.

Results. All the pre-main-sequence clusters considered in this paper have close-to-solar or slightly sub-solar metallicities. The radial metallicity distribution traced by these clusters is almost flat, with the innermost star forming regions having [Fe/H] values that are 0.10−0.15 dex lower than the majority of the older clusters located at similar Galactocentric radii.

Conclusions. This homogeneous study of the present-day radial metallicity distribution in the Galactic thin disc favours models that predict a flattening of the radial gradient over time. On the other hand, the decrease of the average [Fe/H] at young ages is not easily explained by the models. Our results reveal a complex interplay of several processes (e.g. star formation activity, initial mass function, supernova yields, gas flows) that controlled the recent evolution of the Milky Way.



stars: abundances, stars: pre-main sequence, Galaxy: abundances, Galaxy: disk, Galaxy: evolution, open clusters and associations: general

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Astronomy & Astrophysics

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EDP Sciences
European Research Council (320360)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/N004493/1)
Based on data products from observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programme ID 188.B-3002. These data products have been processed by the Cambridge Astronomy Survey Unit (CASU) at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, and by the FLAMES/UVES reduction team at INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri. These data have been obtained from the $\textit{Gaia}$-ESO Survey Data Archive, prepared and hosted by the Wide Field Astronomy Unit, Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, which is funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. This work was partly supported by the European Union FP7 programme through ERC grant number 320360 and by the Leverhulme Trust through grant RPG-2012-541. We acknowledge the support from INAF and Ministero dell’ Istruzione, dell’ Università’ e della Ricerca (MIUR) in the form of the grant “Premiale VLT 2012” and PRIN-2014. The results presented here benefit from discussions held during the $\textit{Gaia}$-ESO workshops and conferences supported by the ESF (European Science Foundation) through the GREAT Research Network Programme. L.S. acknowledges the support from FAPESP (2014/15706-9).