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Fundamental Galactic parameters from direct acceleration measurements

Presentation #401.01 in the session “How Gaia Reveals the Galaxy’s Secrets: Results on the Galactic Scale, Part 1”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
Fundamental Galactic parameters from direct acceleration measurements

Gaia has revealed many facets of a Galaxy that is clearly out of equilibrium. For more than a century now, astronomers have used kinematical estimates to derive accelerations (such as in the Jeans analysis). However, for time-dependent potentials, there are discrepancies between the true acceleration and that derived from kinematics. I will review two independent methods to directly measure the accelerations of stars in the Milky Way to enable what I call “real-time Galactic dynamics”. I will first review our work on measuring accelerations from high precision RV observations conducted over about decade-long baselines. In particular, I will discuss theoretical expectations of the vertical acceleration profile that are motivated by Gaia observations. I will then talk about our analysis of pulsar timing observations, from which we were able to measure Galactic accelerations for the first time, and from these measurements, derive fundamental Galactic parameters. I will also show that combining Gaia data with these methods can allow us to significantly increase the constraints on the inference of the Galactic potential.

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