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Dynamics of the Galactic Bulge from gas motions

  • Ortwin E. Gerhard (a1) and James Binney (a2)

Abstract

Observations of cold gas in the inner galactic disk show a clumpy, highly asymmetric distribution, with large non-circular velocities. Recent work has shown that the flow of gas in the inner few kpc is dominated by a rapidly rotating bar, with corotation at R ≃ 2.4 kpc and oriented at an angle of θincl = 16 ± 2° with the line-of-sight to the Galactic Center. From the kinematical model the gravitational potential in the inner Galaxy can be determined. Gas falls inwards through the bar's inner Lindblad resonance at a rate of ∼ 0.1M/ yr; this suggests that in episodic star formation significant mass and angular momentum may be added to the inner bulge.

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