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The Milky Way

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  1. The Milky Way Our home galaxy, full of stars, gas andmysterious dark matter We decompose it into a disk and a halo and a few other parts

  2. Second Exam Results • Mean: 53.7 + 20 pt curve = 73.9 • Standard deviation: 10.4 • Maximum: 76 raw, 92 curved; • Minimum: 36 raw, 56 curved. • Distribution: >90: 4 >80: 5 >70: 9 >60: 5 >50: 2

  3. Almost a View of our Milky Way NGC 4526, a spiral galaxy like the MW but about 30 Mpc away: it has a similar size, luminosity and structure

  4. Edge-on “View” and View of MW

  5. Key Parts of the Milky Way • HALOContains most globular clusters, and most Pop II stars; roughly 30 kpc (105 lt-yr) in diameter. • THICK DISK roughly 5 kpc thick, and 30 kpc in diameter; contains Pop I stars (but low density). • THIN DISK~500 pc thick: contains MOST stars; includes spiral arms and great majority of luminosity. • DUST DISK only 50 pc thick; new stars are born in the molecular clouds found within this very thin disk. • SPIRAL ARMSare wrapped within the dust/thin disk; contain almost all hot, luminous (O and B) stars.

  6. Overall Structure of the Milky Way

  7. Inner Parts • GALACTIC BULGEroughly 2 kpc in radius around center; highest concentration of stars, including many globular clusters. • GALACTIC CENTER in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, some 8 kpc from the Solar System (SS). • Multiwavelength Milky Way

  8. MAPPING the MILKY WAY • Dust, mainly in molecular clouds, shrouds the Disk; we see few stars beyond 2 kpc from SS in the thin disk, where the number of stars is much greater • Originally astronomers thought the Milky Way WAS the Whole Universe & SS central to it (because of visible light extinction by dust) • Location of Globular Clusters in halo implied center towards Sagittarius and SS actually towards one side in early 20thcentury. • Atomic Hydrogen gas sends 21 cm radio waves that allow us to map the far side of the galaxy, and the outer reaches where there are few stars

  9. Our Nearest Big Neighbor, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda, about 30 kpc across down to nucleus only 15pc

  10. A Limited Conception of the MW Herschel’s “map” of the Galaxy from star counts; More in the MW plane, but thought the Sun near the center and got the size too small: didn’t understand dust

  11. Distribution of Globular Clusters

  12. How do stars orbit in our galaxy?

  13. Stars in the disk all orbit in the same direction with a little up-and-down motion

  14. Orbits of stars in the bulge and halo have random orientations

  15. Thought Question Why do orbits of bulge stars bob up and down? A. They’re stuck to interstellar medium B. Gravity of disk stars pulls toward disk C. Halo stars knock them back into disk

  16. Thought Question Why do orbits of bulge stars bob up and down? A. They’re stuck to interstellar medium B. Gravity of disk stars pulls toward disk C. Halo stars knock them back into disk

  17. Distances from Variable Stars • Certain stars act as “standard candles” with fixed LUMINOSITY (M) • So, MEASURED BRIGHTNESS (m) lets us compute their distances. • RR Lyrae stars all have similar absolute magnitudes (around -0.5 to -1.5). Their periods are all less than one day. They can be seen in nearby galaxies outside the MW. • Can be seen out to 10’s of Mpc. Cepheid variables are even more luminous, and have longer periods (1-50 days).

  18. Light Curves of RR Lyrae and WW Cgyni (a Cepheid Variable)

  19. The Instability Strip • Both RR Lyrae and Cepheid variable stars are post-main sequence stars (subgiants and giants) whose atmospheres pulsate strongly due to opacity variations

  20. Standard Candles via Period-Luminosity Relations

  21. Variable Stars and the Distance Ladder:They take us out to moderately distant galaxies

  22. Motions Near the Sun • Measure Doppler shifts of many stars to get velocities near the Sun • Motions are faster closer to the galactic center so, on the average, stars ahead of Sun and inside get ahead (redshifted) while those behind and outside fall behind (also redshifted)

  23. Gas Velocities from 21 cm Lines

  24. Rotation Gives Mass Distribution • ROTATION CURVES plot the stellar or gas velocity (v) against distance from center of galaxy (r). Mostly measured by 21 cm emission from H I gas • Rigid body curve: v  r (like CD in a player or a rigid arm swinging) • Keplerian curve: v  1/r1/2 most mass centrally concentrated. This would be like Mercury orbiting fastest and Neptune slowest around the Sun. • Flat curve: v constant  M rises significantly; specifically: M r

  25. Galactic Rotation Curve

  26. DARK MATTER SEEMS TO REALLY MATTER • For the MW a FLAT rotation curve implies there is MISSING MASS or • DARK MATTER that isn't Stars or Gas seen out to 20 kpc from galactic center. • Essentially ALL other Spiral galaxies for which Rotation Curves can be measured ARE ALSO FLAT, so DM is EVERYWHERE! • More evidence for DM comes from CLUSTERS OF GALAXIES; we'll discuss this later. • Yet more evidence comes from COSMOLOGICAL measurements of the structure of the universe as a whole (last couple of lectures!)

  27. Dark Matter Candidates • Missing Red Dwarfs (not enough; next slide) • Planets or Brown Dwarfs on the loose (unlikely to be enough: gravitational lensing) • Isolated black holes (very unlikely to be enough) • Massive neutrinos (evidence for then having a tiny mass makes them a good candidate, but very unlikely that they dominate the DM) • Snowballs (very difficult to form them, unpopular choice) • As yet undiscovered particles; (Axions; Supersymmetric particles; WIMPs: Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) MOST popular now BUT no convincing detections yet.

  28. Few Red Dwarfs Seen in Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae

  29. Gravitational Lensing by Brown Dwarfs • Temporary increase in star’s brightness due to a dark mass moving in front • A rare detection is shown in the right

  30. Key Properties of MW • We are about r = 8 kpc from the center. • We orbit the center at v = 220 km/s • That makes for a galactic year (circumference divided by velocity) of • (2 ) x 8,000 x (3.0857 x 1013 km) / 220 km/s = 7.1 x 1015 s = 2.24 x 108 yr. • So, roughly 225 million years is ONE GALACTIC YEAR. • How old is the solar system in galactic years? • At nearly 4.6 billion years of age, the SS is only about 20 galactic years old!

  31. Weighing the Galaxy Orbital speed depends on mass inside at a particular radius. This can be used with any galaxy for which motions can be measured. Mass vs. Distance Applet

  32. Orbital Velocity Law • The orbital speed (v) and radius (r) of an object on a circular orbit around the galaxy tells us the mass (Mr) within that orbit

  33. Mass of the Milky Way • Mgal r3/P2 from Newton’s laws. • This is dominated by DARK MATTER, but total mass can be estimated by the velocity of stars at different distances. • Out to solar distance (about 8 kpc) the mass is about 1 x 1011 M (mostly stars) • Out to ~15 kpc, (the visible radius) a good estimate for the mass is nearly 4 x 1011 M (now mostly DM). • Out to about 70 kpc (> 90% dark matter): 2 x 1012M

  34. Spiral Galaxies M101 is seen face on (similar to MW); NGC 4565 is edge on

  35. Stellar Populations • Pop I Stars: Have compositions like the sun: 70% H, 28% He, 2% "metals"; these metals are mostly Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen • Use the CNO cycle to generate Main Sequence energy if M > 1.5 M • Are almost all younger than 8 billion years. • Most are in the thin disk; the rest are in the thick disk.

  36. Stellar Populations, 2 • Pop II Stars: Have compositions with much less heavy elements than the Sun: 72%H, 28% He, 0.2% metals is typical • Use the pp-II on the MS if M > 1.5 M • Are almost all older than 8 billion years. • Most are in the halo and galactic bulge; however plenty pass through the thick disk too. • Pop III Stars: The very earliest born; • they have essentially NO METALS, • formed from only H and He made in the BIG BANG; • Only a few possible detections.

  37. Spiral Arms • Fundamentally produced by Gravitational Perturbations to the galactic disk • Produced either by a CENTRAL BAR or by a COMPANION GALAXY • TWO ROUTES to Spiral Arms: • First, DENSITY WAVES • Think: traffic jam in space: • Second, STAR FORMATION CHAIN REACTION

  38. Density Wave Analogy to Traffic Jam • Small extra density holds stars/gas up, like a broken down truck on the side of the road --Molecular clouds compressed, stars born --This best explains beautiful smooth ("grand design") spirals

  39. Density Waves Can Make Spiral Arms NGC 1566 shows density wave features with dust lanes and nearby young star clusters

  40. Spiral arms are waves of star formation • Gas clouds get squeezed as they move into spiral arms • Squeezing of clouds triggers star formation • Young stars flow out of spiral arms

  41. So Can Stochastic Star Formation • Random birth of Massive Stars • Their SN explosions compress nearby clouds & make new stars • Differential rotation of galaxy yields spiral appearance by streching the stars out • This best explains "rattier", broken-up spirals (like the Milky Way, though some Density Wave contribution is OK.)

  42. Stochastic or Self-Propagating Star Formation

  43. Spiral Arm Facts • Typically, spiral arms have dark, DUSTY CLOUDS on their edges. • Some of these are compressed enough to form bright O-B STAR CLUSTERS, which can in turn ionize and light up parts of the clouds into H II regions. • Stars older than about 20-30 Myr are usually outside the arms. • NOTE: the arms are barely denser in stars than the rest of the disk but they stand out because they have nearly all the hot, bright, young stars. • Spiral Arms Applet

  44. Stellar Clusters • ALL clusters contain many more stars than average within diameters of 3-20 pc. We usually define three types: • O-B ASSOCIATIONS • OPEN (or Galactic) CLUSTERS • GLOBULAR CLUSTERS

  45. O-B ASSOCIATIONS • usually < 100 stars, • found in the THIN DISK • definitely Pop I -- higher metallicity (similar to the Sun) • stand out because these massive MS stars are so powerful • ages usually < 30 Myr • definitely BLUE in color because they have many hot (O and B) MS stars

  46. OPEN (or GALACTIC) CLUSTERS • 100's to 1000's of stars, • found in the DISK and BULGE • definitely Pop I -- higher metallicity (similar to Sun) • stand out because of some pretty massive MS stars and LOTS of stars • ages range from 5 Myr up to ~3 Gyr (M = Mega, million, G = Giga, billion) • colors are BLUE through YELLOW from dominant MS stars

  47. Open Cluster: Pleiades Only 120 pc from the Sun, the Seven Sisters have many fainter companions; only the most massive have left the MS

  48. GLOBULAR CLUSTERS • 104 to > 106 stars • MOSTLY found in the HALO (plenty in the BULGE too, and a few found passing through the DISK) • All Pop II -- much lower heavy element abundance than the Sun • stand out because of HUGE number of stars in them • ages all > 5 Gyr • RED in color: low mass (red) MS stars and higher mass Red Giants provide most of their light.Blue stars are gone from the MS.

  49. Globular Cluster: Omega Centauri Higher mass stars have become RGs, MS are low mass So the globular clusters look RED since they are OLD.