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The Milky Way, the Galactic Halo, and the Halos of Galaxies

  • Ortwin Gerhard (a1)

Abstract

The Milky Way, “our” Galaxy, is currently the subject of intense study with many ground-based surveys, in anticipation of upcoming results from the Gaia mission. From this work we have been learning about the full three-dimensional structure of the Galactic box/peanut bulge, the distribution of stars in the bar and disk, and the many streams and substructures in the Galactic halo. The data indicate that a large fraction of the Galactic halo has been accreted from outside. Similarly, in many external galaxy halos there is now evidence for tidal streams and accretion of satellites. To study these features requires exquisite, deep photometry and spectroscopy. These observations illustrate how galaxy halos are still growing, and sometimes can be used to “time” the accretion events. In comparison with cosmological simulations, the structure of galaxy halos gives us a vivid illustration of the hierarchical nature of our Universe.

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