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The structure of galactic thick disks

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Thick disks are ubiquitous in nearby spiral galaxies, and many mechanisms have been proposed to explain their formation. I will first use a suite of zoom cosmological simulations to explore the connection between a galaxy’s formation history and the structure of its disk. I will then explain our recent efforts to determine ages for a large sample of stars in the Milky Way (using APOGEE spectroscopic data combined with asteroseismology information from Kepler), and will show how we use those ages to uncover the structure of the Milky Way’s thick disk. I will finally present recent results on the structure of disks in nearby galaxies (using MUSE data), and will discuss how the Milky Way compares to its neighbours.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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