Models for the Gravitational Field of the Galactic Bar. An Application to Stellar Orbits in the Galactic Plane and Orbits of Some Globular Clusters
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AbstractWe built three models for the gravitational field of the Galactic bar. These models are an inhomogeneous ellipsoid, an inhomogeneous prolate spheroid, and a superposition of four inhomogeneous ellipsoids. Among the three models, the superposition provides our best approximation to the observed boxy mass distribution of the Galactic bar. Adding the bar component to an axisymmetric Galactic model, we have calculated stellar midplane orbits and orbits of some globular clusters with known kinematical data. For all models we find a secular dispersion effect upon the orbital energy and angular momentum, as measured in the Galactic inertial frame. This effect might be relevant to explain the orbital prograde-retrograde distribution of globular clusters. For the stellar kinematics, we study the connection between the sense of orbital motion in the midplane and the onset of chaos in the presence of the bar. In the inner region of the bar, chaos is induced by an axisymmetric central component (bulge) and it arises in orbits that change its orbital sense from prograde to retrograde and vice versa as seen from an inertial reference frame. Outside the bar region, chaos appears only in prograde orbits. Our results concerning such connection are consistent and extend those obtained for midplane orbits in the presence of only a spiral pattern in the axisymmetric Galactic model.
Comment: 28 pages and 16 figures. Submitted to ApJ
Astrophys.J. 609 (2004) 144-165