Journal Article

Transverse gradients of azimuthal velocity in a global disc model of the Milky Way

Joanna Jałocha, Łukasz Bratek, Marek Kutschera and Piotr Skindzier

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 3, pages 1689-1700
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Transverse gradients of azimuthal velocity in a global disc model of the Milky Way

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In this paper, we aim to estimate the vertical gradients in the rotational velocity of the Galaxy. This is carried out in the framework of a global thin disc model approximation. The predicted gradient values coincide with the observed vertical fall-off in the rotation curve of the Galaxy. The gradient is estimated based on a statistical analysis of trajectories of test bodies in the gravitational field of the disc and in an analytical way using a quasi-circular orbit approximation. The agreement of the results with the gradient measurements is remarkable in view of other more complicated, non-gravitational mechanisms used for explaining the observed gradient values. Finally, we find that models with a significant spheroidal component give worse vertical gradient estimates than the simple disc model. In view of these results, we can surmise that, apart from the central spherical bulge and Galactic halo, the gross mass distribution in the Galaxy forms a flattened rather than spheroidal figure.

Keywords: Galaxy: disc; Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics; Galaxy: structure; galaxies: spiral

Journal Article.  8068 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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