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Stellar chemical clocks in the Gaia era

Abstract : Stars record the past in their ages, chemical compositions and kinematics. They can provide unprecedented detailed constraints on the early epochs of galaxy formation, back to redshifts greater than two (a look-back time of around 10 billion years). In particular, stellar ages are crucial to the understanding of the Milky Way history and for comparison with galactic evolution models. The advent of the Gaia space mission has opened the path to stellar age estimations for large samples of stars, in particular, based on isochrone fitting methods. In addition, Gaia precise distances allow to develop indirect age estimations based on the stellar population chemical evolution clock. In fact, the chemical abundance patterns imprinted on stellar atmospheres represent the gas conditions at the time of the stars’ formation back to redshifts greater than two. The chemical evolution products of different nucleosynthetic channels can therefore provide a time proxy. After calibration, it can be used as an age estimator.This thesis is focussed on the use of a particular chemical clock, the [Y/Mg] abundance. To this purpose, the astrometric Gaia mission data from the first data release was combined with high resolution spectroscopic data from the AMBRE-HARPS catalogue. First of all, the object identification of the AMBRE archival data was improved, thanks to a cross match with the 2MASS catalog, and later the Gaia DR1. In total, 6776 different stars have been identified.Secondly, in order to obtain precise estimations of the [Y/Mg] abundance ratio for galactic disc stars, the automated GAUGUIN tool integrated in the Gaia DPAC APSIS chain, has been optimized and tested. In particular, the abundance estimation capabilities of the APSIS GAUGUIN tool have been improved for irregularly distributed synthetic spectra grids, spanning a large range in stellar atmospheric parameters.Thirdly, the [Y/Mg] abundance ratio has been estimated for about 2000 stars from the AMBRE HARPS spectroscopic data. In addition, the internal and external errors of the abundances were carefully analysed. The studied stars belong mainly to the galactic thin and thick disc, in the metallicity range from --1.0 dex to 0.5 dex.Fourth, thanks to the isochrone fitting age estimations of 342 turn-off stars of the sample, the age sensitivity of the [Y/Mg] ratio has been studied. The analysis reveals a clear correlation between [Y/Mg] and age for thin disk stars of different metallicities, in synergy with previous studies of Solar type stars. In addition, no metallicity dependence with stellar age is detected, allowing to use the [Y/Mg] ratio as a reliable age proxy.Finally, the [Y/Mg] vs. age relation presents a discontinuity between thin and thick disk stars around 9–10 Gyrs. For thick disk stars, the correlation has a different zero point and probably a steeper trend with age, reflecting the different chemical evolution histories of the two disk components.
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Anastasia Titarenko. Stellar chemical clocks in the Gaia era. Solar and Stellar Astrophysics [astro-ph.SR]. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4065⟩. ⟨tel-01923867⟩

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