Jun 21, 2021

Tree-ring structure of Galactic bar resonance

Posted by in category: space

ABSTRACT. Galaxy models have long predicted that galactic bars slow down by losing angular momentum to their postulated dark haloes. When the bar slows down, resonance sweeps radially outwards through the galactic disc while growing in volume, thereby sequentially capturing new stars at its surface/separatrix. Since trapped stars conserve their action of libration, which measures the relative distance to the resonance centre, the order of capturing is preserved: the surface of the resonance is dominated by stars captured recently at large radius, while the core of the resonance is occupied by stars trapped early at small radius. The slow down of the bar thus results in a rising mean metallicity of trapped stars from the surface towards the centre of the resonance as the Galaxy’s metallicity declines towards large radii. This argument, when applied to Solar neighbourhood stars, allows a novel precision measurement of the bar’s current pattern speed |$\Omega _{\rm p}= 35.5 \pm 0.8 \, {\rm km}\, {\rm s}^{-1}\, {\rm kpc}^{-1}$|⁠, placing the corotation radius at |$R_{\rm CR}= 6.6 \pm 0.2 \, {\rm kpc}$|⁠. With this pattern speed, the corotation resonance precisely fits the Hercules stream in agreement with kinematics. Beyond corroborating the slow bar theory, this measurement manifests the deceleration of the bar of more than |$24{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$| since its formation and thus the angular momentum transfer to the dark halo by dynamical friction. The measurement therefore supports the existence of a standard dark-matter halo rather than alternative models of gravity.

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