NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0212

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0212


PI: Peter Yoachim, University of Washington, yoachim@u.washington.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, Department of Astronomy, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

CoI: Julianne Dalcanton, University of Washington
CoI: Rebecca Bernstein, University of Michigan

Title: The Dynamics of Thick Disks: Constraining the Early Evolution of Galaxies

Abstract: Buried within the low surface brightness regions of galaxies are the remnants of their earliest assembly, namely the thick disk and stellar halo. These components contain a fossil record of the processes which led to their formation over 10 billion years ago. Detailed studies of the kinematics of the thick disk and stellar halo have provided the only direct constraints on the early history of the Milky Way, even though these components contain a small fraction of the Galaxy's total stellar mass. It is now possible to make similar measurements in galaxies \emphother than the Milky Way. Due to the recent discovery that thick disks surround \emphall disk galaxies, we are now in a position to study the kinematics of thick disks in galaxies of a wide range in mass, teaching us about galaxy formation \emphin general, not just within the Milky Way. Specifically, we propose to measure the relative dynamics of the thick and thin disks in a well-defined sample of nearby edge-on ! galaxies. These measurements will place tight constraints on the origin of the thick disk, and will cleanly discriminate between merging and monolithic collapse scenarios for the formation of this critical tracer of the early evolution of disk galaxies. This proposal is a continuation of a program to measure thick disk dynamics for ~3 galaxies in 3 mass ranges. The proposal was granted band 1 observations for the current observing season, but no data has yet been taken


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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