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Abundance Gradients in the Galactic Disk: a clue to Galaxy Formation

Research paper by Francesca Matteucci, Cristina Chiappini

Indexed on: 16 Dec '98Published on: 16 Dec '98Published in: Astrophysics



Abstract

We review the observational evidences and the possible theoretical explanations for the abundance gradients in the Galactic disk. In particular, we discuss the implications of abundance gradients and gradients of abundance ratios on the mechanism for the formation of the Galaxy. We conclude that an {\bf inside-out} formation of the Galaxy, and in particular of the Galactic disk, where the innermost regions are assumed to have formed much faster than the outermost ones, represents the most likely explanation for abundance gradients and we predict that the abundance gradients along the Galactic disk have increased with time.