Tuesday, August 6, 2013

1308.0593 (Christopher Wegg et al.)

Mapping the Three-Dimensional Density of the Galactic Bulge with VVV Red Clump Stars    [PDF]

Christopher Wegg, Ortwin Gerhard
The inner Milky Way is dominated by a boxy, triaxial bulge which is believed to have formed through disk instability processes. Despite its proximity, its large-scale properties are still not very well known, due to our position in the obscuring Galactic disk. Here we make a measurement of the three-dimensional density distribution of the Galactic bulge using red clump giants identified in DR1 of the VVV survey. Our density map covers the inner (2.2x1.4x1.1)kpc of the bulge/bar. Line-of-sight density distributions are estimated by deconvolving extinction and completeness corrected K-band magnitude distributions. In constructing our measurement, we assume that the three-dimensional bulge is 8-fold mirror triaxially symmetric. In doing so we measure the angle of the bar-bulge to the line-of-sight to be (27+- 2)deg, where the dominant error is systematic arising from the details of the deconvolution process. The resulting density distribution shows a highly elongated bar with projected axis ratios ~(1:2.1) for isophotes reaching ~2kpc along the major axis. Along the bar axes the density falls off roughly exponentially, with axis ratios (10:6.3:2.6) and exponential scale-lengths (0.70:0.44:0.18)kpc. From about 400pc above the Galactic plane, the bulge density distribution displays a prominent X-structure. Overall, the density distribution of the Galactic bulge is characteristic for a strongly boxy/peanut shaped bulge within a barred galaxy.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.0593

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