We review the implications of the Gaia Data Release 2 catalogue for studying the dynamics of Milky Way globular clusters, focusing on two separate topics.
The first one is the analysis of the full 6-dimensional phase-space distribution of the entire population of Milky Way globular clusters: their mean proper motions (PM) can be measured with an exquisite precision (down to 0.05 mas yr−1, including systematic errors). Using these data, and a suitable ansatz for the steady-state distribution function (DF) of the cluster population, we then determine simultaneously the best-fit parameters of this DF and the total Milky Way potential. We also discuss possible correlated structures in the space of integrals of motion.
The second topic addresses the internal dynamics of a few dozen of the closest and richest globular clusters, again using the Gaia PM to measure the velocity dispersion and internal rotation, with a proper treatment of spatially correlated systematic errors. Clear rotation signatures are detected in 10 clusters, and a few more show weaker signatures at a level ∼0.05 mas yr−1. PM dispersion profiles can be reliably measured down to 0.1 mas yr−1, and agree well with the line-of-sight velocity dispersion profiles from the literature.