Our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is a benchmark for understanding disk galaxies. It is the only galaxy whose formation history can be studied using the full distribution of stars from faint dwarfs to supergiants. The oldest components provide us with unique insight into how galaxies form and evolve over billions of years. The Galaxy is a luminous (L ) barred spiral with a central box/peanut bulge, a dominant disk, and a diffuse stellar halo. Based on global properties, it falls in the sparsely populated "green valley" region of the galaxy colour-magnitude diagram. Here we review the key integrated, structural and kinematic parameters of the Galaxy, and point to uncertainties as well as directions for future progress. Galactic studies will continue to play a fundamental role far into the future because there are measurements that can only be made in the near field and much of contemporary astrophysics depends on such observations.
Based on a uniform dynamical analysis of the line-profile shapes of 21 mostly luminous, slowly rotating, and nearly round elliptical galaxies, we have investigated the dynamical family relations and dark halo properties of ellipticals. Our results include: (i) The circular velocity curves (CVCs) of elliptical galaxies are flat to within ≃ 10% for R ∼ > 0.2R e . (ii) Most ellipticals are moderately radially anisotropic; their dynamical structure is surprisingly uniform. (iii) Elliptical galaxies follow a Tully-Fisher (TF) relation with marginally shallower slope than spiral galaxies, and v max c ≃ 300 km s −1 for an L * B galaxy. At given circular velocity, they are ∼ 1 mag fainter in B and ∼ 0.6 mag in R, and appear to have slightly lower baryonic mass than spirals, even for the maximum M/L B allowed by the kinematics. (iv) The luminosity dependence of M/L B indicated by the tilt of the Fundamental Plane (FP) is confirmed. The tilt of the FP is not caused by dynamical or photometric non-homology, although the latter might influence the slope of M/L versus L. It can also not be due only to an increasing dark matter fraction with L for the range of IMF currently discussed. It is, however, consistent with stellar population models based on published metallicities and ages. The main driver is therefore probably metallicity, and a secondary population effect is needed to explain the K-band tilt. (v) These results make it likely that elliptical galaxies have nearly maximal M/L B (minimal halos). (vi) Despite the uniformly flat CVCs, there is a spread in the luminous to dark matter ratio and in cumulative M/L B (r). Some galaxies have no indication for dark matter within 2R e , whereas for others we obtain local M/L B s of 20-30 at 2R e . (vii) In models with maximum stellar mass, the dark matter contributes ∼ 10 − 40% of the mass within R e . Equal interior mass of dark and luminous matter is predicted at ∼ 2−4R e . (viii) Even in these maximum stellar mass models, the halo core densities and phase-space densities are at least ∼ 25 times larger and the halo core radii ∼ 4 times smaller than in spiral galaxies of the same circular velocity. The increase in M/L sets in at ∼ 10 times larger acceleration than in spirals. This could imply that elliptical galaxy halos collapsed at high redshift or that some of the dark matter in ellipticals might be baryonic.The dynamical structure of these galaxies turned out to be remarkably uniform. Most galaxies require moderate radial anisotropy in their main bodies (at ∼ 0.5R e ). Their circular velocity curves are all consistent with being flat outside ≃ 0.2R e . The M/L ratio profiles begin to rise at around 0.5 − 2R e and are consistent with X-ray and other data where available, although from the kinematic data alone constant M/L models can only be ruled out at 95% confidence in a few galaxies.This sample provides a new and much improved basis for investigating the dynamical family properties of elliptical galaxies, which is the subject of the present study. In Section 2, we analyze...
We present Hα integral field spectroscopy of well resolved, UV/optically selected z~2 star-forming galaxies as part of the SINS survey with SINFONI on the ESO VLT.Our laser guide star adaptive optics and good seeing data show the presence of turbulent rotating star forming rings/disks, plus central bulge/inner disk components, whose mass fractions relative to total dynamical mass appears to scale with [NII]/Hα flux ratio and 'star formation' age. We propose that the buildup of the central disks and bulges of massive galaxies at z~2 can be driven by the early secular evolution of gas-rich 'proto'-disks. High redshift disks exhibit large random motions. This turbulence may in part be stirred up by the release of gravitational energy in the rapid 'cold' accretion flows along the filaments of the cosmic web. As a result dynamical friction and viscous processes proceed on a time scale of <1 Gyr, at least an order of magnitude faster than in z~0 disk galaxies. Early secular evolution thus drives gas and stars into the central regions and can build up exponential disks and massive bulges, even without major mergers. Secular evolution along with increased efficiency of star formation at high surface densities may also help to account for the short time scales of the stellar buildup observed in massive galaxies at z~2.
We present new observations of the nuclear star cluster in the central parsec of the Galaxy with the adaptive optics assisted, integral field spectrograph SINFONI on the ESO/VLT. Our work allows the spectroscopic detection of early and late type stars to m K ≥ 16, more than 2 magnitudes deeper than our previous data sets. Our observations result in a total sample of 177 bona fide early-type stars. We find that most of these Wolf Rayet (WR), O-and B-stars reside in two strongly warped disks between 0.8" and 12" from SgrA*, as well as a central compact concentration (the S-star cluster) centered on SgrA*. The later type B stars (m K > 15) in the radial interval between 0.8" and 12" seem to be in a more isotropic distribution outside the disks. The observed dearth of late type stars in the central few arcseconds is puzzling, even when allowing for stellar collisions. The stellar mass function of the disk stars is extremely top heavy with a best fit power law of dN/dm ∝ m −0.45±0.3 .Since at least the WR/O-stars were formed in situ in a single star formation event ∼6 Myrs ago, this mass function probably reflects the initial mass function (IMF). The mass functions of the S-stars inside 0.8" and of the early-type stars at distances beyond 12" are compatible with a standard Salpeter/Kroupa IMF (best fit power law of dN/dm ∝ m −2.15±0.3 ).
We present the modeling of SINFONI integral field dynamics of 18 star-forming galaxies at z ∼ 2 from Hα line emission. The galaxies are selected from the larger sample of the SINS survey, based on the prominence of ordered rotational motions with respect to more complex merger-induced dynamics. The quality of the data allows us to carefully select systems with kinematics dominated by rotation, and to model the gas dynamics across the whole galaxy using suitable exponential disk models. We obtain a good correlation between the dynamical mass and the stellar mass, finding that large gas fractions (M gas ≈ M * ) are required to explain the difference between the two quantities. We use the derived stellar mass and maximum rotational velocity V max from the modeling to construct for the first time the stellar mass Tully-Fisher relation at z ∼ 2.2. The relation obtained shows a slope similar to what is observed at lower redshift, but we detect an evolution of the zero point. We find that at z ∼ 2.2 there is an offset in log(M * ) for a given rotational velocity of 0.41 ± 0.11 with respect to the local universe. This result is consistent with the predictions of the latest N-body/hydrodynamical simulations of disk formation and evolution, which invoke gas accretion onto the forming disk in filaments and cooling flows. This scenario is in agreement with other dynamical evidence from SINS, where gas accretion from the halo is required to reproduce the observed properties of a large fraction of the z ∼ 2 galaxies.
We present the first data release of the Radial Velocity Experiment ( RAVE), an ambitious spectroscopic survey to measure radial velocities and stellar atmosphere parameters (temperature, metallicity, and surface gravity) of up to one million stars using the Six Degree Field multiobject spectrograph on the 1.2 m UK Schmidt Telescope of the Anglo-Australian Observatory. The RAVE program started in 2003, obtaining medium-resolution spectra (median R ¼ 7500) in the Ca-triplet region (8410-8795 8) for southern hemisphere stars drawn from the Tycho-2 and SuperCOSMOS catalogs, in the magnitude range 9 < I < 12. The first data release is described in this paper and contains radial velocities for 24,748 individual stars (25,274 measurements when including reobservations). Those data were obtained on 67 nights between 2003 April 11 and 2004 April 3. The total sky coverage within this data release is $4760 deg 2 . The average signal-to-noise ratio of the observed spectra is 29.5, and 80% of the radial velocities have uncertainties better than 3.4 km s À1 . Combining internal errors and zero-point errors, the mode is found to be 2 km s À1 . Repeat observations are used to assess the stability of our radial velocity solution, resulting in a variance of 2.8 km s À1 . We demonstrate that the radial velocities derived for the first data set do not show any systematic trend with color or signal-to-noise ratio. The RAVE radial velocities are complemented in the data release with proper motions from Starnet 2.0, Tycho-2, and SuperCOSMOS, in addition to photometric data from the major optical and infrared catalogs (Tycho-2, USNO-B, DENIS, and the Two Micron All Sky Survey). The data release can be accessed via the RAVE Web site.
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