The Milky Way Galaxy Chapter 14: 0 The discovery of the galaxy The Origin of the Milky Way Spiral Arms and Star Formation The Nucleus The Milky Way Almost everything we see in the night sky belongs to the Milky Way. We see most of the Milky Way as a faint band of light across the sky. From outside, our Milky Way might very much look like our cosmic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. 0 First Studies of the Galaxy First attempt to unveil the structure of the galaxy by William Herschel (1785), based on optical observations. The shape of the Milky Way was believed to resemble a grindstone, with the sun close to the center 0 Strategies to explore the structure of our Milky Way I. Select bright objects that you can see throughout the Milky Way and trace their directions and distances. II. Observe objects at wavelengths other than visible (to circumvent the problem of optical obscuration), and catalog their directions and distances. III. Trace the orbital velocities of objects in different directions relative to our position. 0 Determining the Structure of the Milky Way Galactic Plane Galactic Center The structure of our Milky Way is hard to determine because: 1) We are inside. 2) Distance measurements are difficult. 3) Our view towards the center is obscured by gas and dust. 0 Measuring Distances: The Cepheid Method Instability Strip The more luminous a Cepheid variable, the longer its pulsation period. Observing the period yields a measure of its luminosity and thus its distance! 0 The Cepheid Method Allows us to measure the distances to star clusters throughout the Milky Way 0 Exploring the Galaxy Using Clusters of Stars Two types of clusters of stars: 1) Open clusters = young clusters of recently formed stars; within the disk of the Galaxy 2) Globular clusters = old, centrally concentrated clusters of stars; mostly in a halo around the galaxy Globular Cluster M 19 0 Open clusters h and c Persei Globular Clusters Dense clusters of 50,000 ? a million stars Approx. 200 globular clusters in our Milky Way Old (~ 11 billion years), lower-main-sequence stars Globular Cluster M80 0 Locating the Center of the Milky Way Distribution of globular clusters is not centered on the sun, but on a location which is heavily obscured from direct (visual) observation. 0 The Structure of the Milky Way 75,000 light years Disk Nuclear Bulge Halo Sun Globular Clusters Open Clusters, O/B Associations 0 Observing Neutral Hydrogen: The 21-cm (radio) line (I) Electrons in the ground state of neutral hydrogen have slightly different energies, depending on their spin orientation. Magnetic field due to proton spin Magnetic field due to electron spin Opposite magnetic fields attract => Lower energy Equal magnetic fields repel => Higher energy 21-cm line 0 Infrared View of the Milky Way Interstellar dust (absorbing optical light) emits mostly infrared. Near-infrared image Infrared emission is not strongly absorbed and provides a clear view throughout the Milky Way Nuclear bulge Galactic plane Far-infrared image 0 Orbital Motions in the Milky Way (I) Disk stars: Nearly circular orbits in the disk of the galaxy Halo stars: Highly elliptical orbits; randomly oriented 0 Orbital Motions in the Milky Way (II) Differential Rotation Sun orbits around galactic center at 220 km/s 1 orbit takes approx. 240 million years. Stars closer to the galactic center orbit faster. Stars farther out orbit more slowly. 0 Mass determination from orbital velocity: The more mass there is inside the orbit, the faster the sun has to orbit around the galactic center. Combined mass: M = 4 billion Msun M = 11 billion Msun M = 25 billion Msun M = 100 billion Msun M = 400 billion Msun 0 The Mass of the Milky Way If all mass was concentrated in the center, Rotation curve would follow a modified version of Kepler?s 3rd law. Rotation Curve = orbital velocity as function of radius. 0 The Mass of the Milky Way (II) Total mass in the disk of the Milky Way: Approx. 200 billion solar masses Additional mass in an extended halo: Total: Approx. 1 trillion solar masses Most of the mass is not emitting any radiation: dark matter! 0 Gravitational Lensing: Indicator of dark matter and GR The huge mass of gas in a cluster of galaxies can bend the light from a more distant galaxy. Image of the galaxy is strongly distorted into arcs. 0 Stellar Populations Population I: Young stars: metal rich; located in spiral arms and disk Population II: Old stars: metal poor; located in the halo (globular clusters) and nuclear bulge 0 Metal Abundances in the Universe Logarithmic Scale All elements heavier than He are very rare. Linear Scale 0 Metals in Stars Absorption lines almost exclusively from Hydrogen: Population II Many absorption lines also from heavier elements (metals): Population I At the time of formation, the gases forming the Milky Way consisted exclusively of hydrogen and helium. heavier elements (?metals?) were later only produced in stars. => Young stars contain more metals than older stars. 0 The History of the Milky Way The traditional theory: Quasi-spherical gas cloud fragments into smaller pieces, forming the first, metal-poor stars (pop. II); Rotating cloud collapses into a disk-like structure Later populations of stars (pop. I) are restricted to the disk of the galaxy 0 Modifications of the Traditional Theory Ages of stellar population may pose a problem to the traditional theory of the history of the Milky Way. Possible solution: Later accumulation of gas, possibly due to mergers with smaller galaxies. Recently discovered ring of stars around the Milky Way may be the remnant of such a merger. 0 Exploring the structure of the Milky Way with O/B Associations O/B Associations Distances to O/B Associations determined using Cepheid variables O/B Associations trace out 3 spiral arms near the sun. Sagittarius arm Orion-Cygnus arm Perseus arm Sun 0 Radio Observations 21-cm radio observations reveal the distribution of neutral hydrogen throughout the galaxy. Distances to hydrogen clouds determined through radial-velocity measurements (Doppler effect!) Galactic center Sun Neutral hydrogen concentrated in spiral arms 0 The Structure of the Milky Way Revealed Distribution of dust Sun Ring Bar Distribution of stars and neutral hydrogen 0 Star Formation in Spiral Arms (I) Shock waves from supernovae, ionization fronts initiated by O and B stars, and the shock fronts forming spiral arms trigger star formation. Spiral arms are stationary shock waves, initiating star formation. 0 Star Formation in Spiral Arms (II) Spiral arms are basically stationary shock waves. Stars and gas clouds orbit around the galactic center and cross spiral arms. Shocks initiate star formation. Star formation self-sustaining through O/B ionization fronts and supernova shock waves. 0 The Nature of Spiral Arms Chance coincidence of small spiral galaxy in front of a large background galaxy Spiral arms appear bright (newly formed, massive stars!) against the dark sky background, but dark (gas and dust in dense, star-forming clouds) against the bright background of the large galaxy 0 Self-Sustained Star Formation in Spiral Arms Star forming regions get elongated due to differential rotation. Star formation is self-sustaining due to ionization fronts and supernova shocks. 0 The Whirlpool Galaxy Grand-design galaxy M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy): Self-sustaining star forming regions along spiral arm patterns are clearly visible. 0 The Galactic Center (I) Wide-angle optical view of the GC region galactic center Our view (in visible light) towards the Galactic center (GC) is heavily obscured by gas and dust: Extinction by 30 magnitudes ? Only 1 out of 1012 optical photons makes its way from the GC towards Earth! 0 Radio View of the Galactic Center Many supernova remnants; shells and filaments Sgr A Arc Sgr A*: The center of our galaxy The galactic center contains a supermassive black hole of approx. 2.6 million solar masses. Sgr A 0 Measuring the Mass of the Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way By following the orbits of individual stars near the center of the Milky Way, the mass of the central black hole could be determined to be ~ 2.6 million solar masses. 0 X-Ray View of the Galactic Center Chandra X ray image of Sgr A* Supermassive black hole in the galactic center is unusually faint in X rays, compared to those in other galaxies. Galactic center region contains many black-hole and neutron-star X-ray binaries. 0 Black hole animation http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blackhole/program.html
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