Monday, October 10, 2016

How Far Away Is The Center Of The Milky Way?

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, Sagittarius A* is 26,000±1,000 light years from Earth.
We report on the detection in the combined Gaia-DR1/RAVE data of a lack of disk stars in the solar neighbourhood with velocities close to zero angular momentum. We propose that this may be caused by the scattering of stars with very low angular momentum onto chaotic, halo-type orbits when they pass through the Galactic nucleus. We model the effect in a Milky-Way like potential and fit the resulting model directly to the data, finding a likelihood (∼2.7σ) of a dip in the distribution. Using this effect, we can make a dynamical measurement of the Solar rotation velocity around the Galactic center: v⊙=239±9 km s−1. Combined with the measured proper motion of Sgr A∗, this measurement gives a measurement of the distance to the Galactic centre: R0=7.9±0.3 kpc.
Jason A. S. Hunt, Jo Bovy, Raymond G. Carlberg, "Detection of a dearth of stars with zero angular momentum in the solar neighbourhood" (6 Oct 2016).

1 comment:

AlanL said...

OK, hands up anybody who *didn't* first read the title as "Detection of Death Stars ..."