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The Milky Way's Dark Matter Halo Appears To Be Lopsided

Saha, Kanak and Levine, Evan S and Jog, Chanda J and Blitz, Leo (2009) The Milky Way's Dark Matter Halo Appears To Be Lopsided. In: Astrophysical Journal, 697 (2). pp. 2015-2029.

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Official URL: http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0004-637X/697/2/201...

Abstract

The atomic hydrogen gas (H I) disk in the outer region (beyond similar to 10 kpc from the center) of Milky Way can provide valuable information about the structure of the dark matter halo. The recent three-dimensional thickness map of the outer H I disk from the all sky 21 cm line Leiden/Argentine/Bonn survey, gives us a unique opportunity to investigate the structure of the dark matter halo of Milky Way in great detail. A striking feature of this new survey is the north-south (N-S) asymmetry in the thickness map of the atomic hydrogen gas. Assuming vertical hydrostatic equilibrium under the total potential of the Galaxy, we derive the model thickness map of the H I gas. We show that simple axisymmetric halo models, such as softened isothermal halo (producing a flat rotation curve with V-c similar to 220 km s(-1)) or any halo with density falling faster than the isothermal one, are not able to explain the observed radial variation of the gas thickness. We also show that such axisymmetric halos along with different H I velocity dispersion in the two halves, cannot explain the observed asymmetry in the thickness map. Amongst the nonaxisymmetric models, it is shown that a purely lopsided (m = 1, first harmonic) dark matter halo with reasonable H I velocity dispersion fails to explain the N-S asymmetry satisfactorily. However, we show that by superposing a second harmonic (m = 2) out of phase onto a purely lopsided halo, e. g., our best fit and more acceptable model A (with parameters epsilon(1)(h) = 0.2, epsilon(2)(h) = 0.18, and sigma(H I) = 8.5 km s(-1)) can provide an excellent fit to the observation and reproduce the N-S asymmetry naturally. The emerging picture of the asymmetric dark matter halo is supported by the. cold dark matter halos formed in the cosmological N-body simulation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited.
Keywords: galaxies:halos;galaxies:ISM;galaxies:kinematics and dynamics;galaxies:spiral;galaxies:structure.
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2009 10:30
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/20739

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