Learning Objectives. at the center of our Galaxy...why were they wrong? are globular clusters? Cepheid Variable stars?

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1 Our Milky Way

2 Learning Objectives! What is the Milky Way? The Herschels thought we were at the center of our Galaxy...why were they wrong?! How did Shapley prove we aren t at the center? What are globular clusters? Cepheid Variable stars?! How do we use Cepheid Variables to measure distance?! What are the components of our Galaxy? What color are old stars? Young stars? Does our Galaxy get older or younger as you move out (i.e. from the disk to the halo)?! How do we know our Galaxy is a spiral galaxy?! Do stars in our Galaxy s disk orbit as Kepler s Laws would predict? What is a rotation curve? Why does our Galaxy s rotation curve suggest dark matter exists?

3 The Milky Way! Our Galaxy is a collection of stars, nebulae, molecular clouds, and stellar remnants! All bound together by gravity! Connected by the stellar evolution cycle

4 Determining the Shape of our Galaxy! The number of 6400 ly stars were counted in all directions from the Sun by Caroline Herschel and her brother William 1300 ly! They assumed that all stars have the same brightness and that space contains no dust Incorrect assumptions! They thus concluded that the Sun is at the center of the Universe - Which is not true Sun

5 The Importance of Dust! Dust dims and reddens starlight! There is more dust toward the center of the Galaxy! Consequence: We underestimate the number of stars in one direction! We appear to be near the center, but we re not Us Star Sun Can t see stars here (if we re looking for blue light from them)

6 How Do We Find the Galactic Center?! Stars aren t all of the same brightness! If only there was a type of star with fixed, or known luminosity! Ideally, outside of the disk! Get around most of the dust! and luminous so we can see such stars to large distance! Old star clusters (called globular clusters...mostly red and dead stars) meet these requirements! ~150 globular clusters are visible outside the disk

7 Cepheid Variables! Giant stars with masses more than 5M Sun enter periods of variability late in their evolution! Dying stars, are common in globular clusters! CVs are unstable and pulsate! Pulsation makes them vary in brightness! The pulsation period is related to the star s absolute magnitude (luminosity)! Excellent way to measure distance (can use this technique to measure distances far beyond the distances we can measure using parallax)!

8 Finding Our Place Early view: Sun at center Globular Clusters should be evenly distributed? Sun Globular Clusters are unevenly distributed Harlow Shapley

9 Finding Our Place! Shapley determined that the center of our Galaxy was in the constellation Sagittarius! And that the Galactic Center was ~12 kpc (~40,000 light years) away! He overestimated, because he Harlow Shapley didn t know about interstellar dust! Due to dust he thought the type of Cepheid Variable he studied was a little fainter, and so a little further away than is really the case! Distance is nearer ~8 kpc (~26,000 light years)

10 The Structure of Our Galaxy! Disk! All kinds of stars! Open clusters! Gas and dust! Halo! Red dwarfs and red giants! Little gas and dust! Globular clusters! Bulge! Mixture of halo and disk Side View (8 kpc) (30 kpc)

11 ! The disk of our Galaxy contains most of its visible mass! 90% of the Galaxy s stars The Disk! Its where the action is still occurring! Star formation, planet formation, etc..! Relatively thin The disk in infrared light! 2,000-3,000 light years thick vs. 100,000 light years in diameter

12 Spiral Arms?! Other disk galaxies show spiral arms! Made of bright, blue stars and giant molecular clouds! How do we know our Galaxy has them?! Being inside the arms makes their spiral shape less obvious, because they re scrunched up! but we do observe that they are there

13 Hints of Spiral Arms! We plot the locations of nearby O- and B-type stars in our Galaxy! O and B because in other galaxies, the spiral arms contain bright, blue stars! We find that the stars are arranged in arms! Our Sun is in an area between two spiral arms

14 The Halo! Our Galaxy s disk is surrounded by a spherical halo of stars & globular clusters! Red dwarfs and red giants old stars! Only about 2% of the number of stars in the disk! There is some structure to the halo! Denser towards the center! Two sets of globular clusters! Outer clusters older! Inner clusters slightly younger (but still old)

15 Stars orbit our Galaxy s Center! Could this be caused by the supermassive black hole?! Force from black hole on our Sun: F = GM BH m SUN /R 2! Acceleration of Sun due to this force: F = m SUN a SUN! Thus: m SUN a SUN = GM BH m SUN /R 2! Therefore: a SUN = GM BH /R 2! The Galactic Center is about 30,000 light years away (3 x m)! M BH = 4 million M = (8 x kg)! G = 6.7 x m 3 kg -1 s -2! a SUN ~ 6 x m s -2! Me on you: a YOU ~ G(90)/(10 2 ) ~ 6 x m s -2

16 Differential Rotation of the Galaxy! The orbital periods of stars increase with distance from the center of our Galaxy! This sounds like Kepler s 3rd Law! Does Kepler s 3rd Law work? The Sun orbits at 240 km/ s or about 500,000 mph 200 million years per orbit!

17 Rotation Curve Shows Hidden Mass! Think about how we ve used Kepler s 3rd Law in the past to describe small masses orbiting around big masses! Like planets around the Sun! We always used it to work out orbits where most of the mass is on the inside of the orbit. Kepler s 3rd law fits orbits where most of the mass is inside the orbit

18 Rotation Curve Shows! Orbital speed actually increases slightly with distance from the Galactic center! There must be a lot of mass in the outer parts of the Galaxy, beyond where we see most of the stars Hidden Mass! Only 20% of our Galaxy s starlight is outside the Sun s orbit! The mass in the outer part of the Galaxy is dark

19 Dark Matter! Dark matter is of unknown origins, although several hypotheses exist! Only observed by its gravitational influence on normal matter! The dark matter in our Galaxy is in a greatly extended halo! Up to 90% of the Galaxy s mass is dark matter! Our Galaxy probably contains over onethousand-billion solar masses total

20 Next Time The Great Debate

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