Journal Article

The uncertainty in Galactic parameters

Paul J. McMillan and James J. Binney

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 2, pages 934-940
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15932.x
The uncertainty in Galactic parameters

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We reanalyse the measurements of parallax, proper motion and line-of-sight velocity for 18 masers in high-mass star-forming regions presented by Reid et al. We use a likelihood analysis to investigate the distance of the Sun from the Galactic Centre, R0, the rotational speed of the local standard of rest, v0, and the peculiar velocity of the Sun, v, for various models of the rotation curve and models which allow for a typical peculiar motion of the high-mass star-forming regions.

We find that these data are best fit by models with non-standard values for v or a net peculiar motion of the high-mass star-forming regions. We argue that a correction to v is much more likely and these data support the conclusion of Binney that V should be revised upwards from 5.2 to 11 km s−1. We find that the values of R0 and v0 that we determine are heavily dependent on the model we use for rotation curve, with model-dependent estimates of R0 ranging from 6.7 ± 0.5 to 8.9 ± 0.9 kpc, and those of v0 ranging from 200 ± 20 to 279 ± 33 km s−1. We argue that these data cannot be thought of as implying any particular values of R0 or v0. However, we find that v0/R0 is better constrained, lying in the range 29.9 − 31.6 km s−1 kpc−1 for all models but one.

Keywords: methods: statistical; Galaxy: fundamental parameters; Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics

Journal Article.  5573 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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