The Gaia-ESO survey: Matching chemodynamical simulations to observations of the Milky Way

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The typical methodology for comparing simulated galaxies with observational surveys is usually to apply a spatial selection to the simulation to mimic the region of interest covered by a comparable observational survey sample. In this work, we compare this approach with a more sophisticated post-processing in which the observational uncertainties and selection effects (photometric, surface gravity and effective temperature) are taken into account. We compare a 'solar neighbourhood analogue' region in a model MilkyWay-like galaxy simulated with RAMSES-CH with fourth release Gaia-ESO survey data. We find that a simple spatial cut alone is insufficient and that the observational uncertainties must be accounted for in the comparison. This is particularly true when the scale of uncertainty is large compared to the dynamic range of the data, e.g. in our comparison, the [Mg/Fe] distribution is affected much more than the more accurately determined [Fe/H] distribution. Despite clear differences in the underlying distributions of elemental abundances between simulation and observation, incorporating scatter to our simulation results to mimic observational uncertainty produces reasonable agreement. The quite complete nature of the Gaia-ESO survey means that the selection function has minimal impact on the distribution of observed age and metal abundances but this would become increasingly more important for surveys with narrower selection functions.


  • B. B. Thompson
  • C. G. Few
  • M. Bergemann
  • B. K. Gibson
  • B. A. MacFarlane
  • A. Serenelli
  • G. Gilmore
  • S. Randich
  • A. Vallenari
  • E. J. Alfaro
  • P. Francois
  • A. J. Korn
  • A. Bayo
  • G. Carraro
  • A. R. Casey
  • M. T. Costado
  • P. Donati
  • E. Franciosini
  • A. Frasca
  • A. Hourihane
  • P. Jofrè
  • V. Hill
  • U. Heiter
  • S. E. Koposov
  • A. Lanzafame
  • C. Lardo
  • P. de Laverny
  • J. Lewis
  • L. Magrini
  • G. Marconi
  • T. Masseron
  • L. Monaco
  • L. Morbidelli
  • E. Pancino
  • L. Prisinzano
  • A. Recio-Blanco
  • G. Sacco
  • S. G. Sousa
  • G. Tautvaišiene
  • C. C. Worley
  • S. Zaggia
External organisations
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Hull
  • Saint Mary's University
  • University of Exeter
  • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
  • CSIC Institute of Space Sciences (ICE)
  • University of Cambridge
  • INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri
  • INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova
  • CSIC Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA)
  • Paris Diderot University
  • Uppsala University
  • University of Valparaíso
  • European Southern Observatory Santiago
  • Monash University
  • INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna
  • Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania
  • Côte d'Azur Observatory
  • University of Catania
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Andrés Bello National University
  • INAF Palermo Astronomical Observatory
  • Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto
  • Vilnius University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Galaxies: evolution, Galaxies: formation, Galaxy: abundances, Methods: numerical
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch

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