Hunting for the fastest stars in the Milky Way
The high velocity tail of the total velocity distribution of stars provides essential insight into fundamental properties of the Galaxy.
- Marchetti, T.
- 10 October 2019
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
The high velocity tail of the total velocity distribution of stars provides essential insight into fundamental properties of the Galaxy. Hypervelocity stars (HVSs), travelling on unbound orbits coming from the Galactic Centre, are powerful tracers of the underlying Galactic gravitational potential, and can shed light on the stellar population in the proximity of our massive black hole. Runaway stars, ejected from the stellar disk, provide information on binary evolution and stellar clusters' dynamical processes. The advent of the data from the European Space Agency satellite Gaia has revolutionized our knowledge on high velocity stars. In my PhD thesis entitled "Hunting for the fastest stars in the Milky Way" I present my work on searching for the fastest stars in the Milky Way. I start by presenting our modelling work on predicting the HVS population expected to be contained in the Gaia catalogue. Then I illustrate the data mining techniques built and implemented to find these rare objects in the first and second data release of Gaia. Finally, I conclude discussing how HVSs can be used to constrain the Galactic dark matter halo and the binary population in the Galactic Centre.