CFHT UM2019 - Presentation Details

Abstract Details

Title: Reconstructing the Milky Way using its Stellar Graveyard

Presenter: Nicholas Fantin


As the remnants of stars with initial masses less than ~8-10 M_sun, white dwarfs contain valuable information regarding the formation history of stellar populations as a whole. In this talk, I will present a newly developed white dwarf population synthesis code which returns mock observations of a white dwarf population given a prescription for the star formation history and geometry of the Milky Way, while simultaneously taking survey parameters into account. We use photometric data from the Canada France Imaging Survey, Pan-STARRS DR1, as well as astrometry from Gaia DR2 to select ~30,000 white dwarf candidates in order to simultaneously fit the star formation history for the thin disc, thick disc, and halo of the Milky Way using the Approximate Bayesian Computation MCMC code astroABC. The resulting star formation history and mass assembly will be presented, showing a burst of star formation from ~11.8-9.8 Gyr in the thick disc, followed by a period of relative inactivity before the thin disc begins forming stars at a roughly constant rate for 7.4 Gyr. I will finish with a discussion on future uses for our white dwarf population synthesis code in the era of WFIRST, LSST, Euclid, and Castor.