High Galactic latitude runaway stars as tracers of the spiral arms

M.D.V. Silva, Ralf Napiwotzki

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A direct observation of the spiral structure of the Galaxy is hindered by our position in the middle of the Galactic plane. We propose a method based on the analysis of the birthplaces of high Galactic latitude runaway stars to map the spiral arms and determine their dynamics. As a proof of concept, the method is applied to a local sample of early-type stars and a sample of runaways stars to obtain estimates of the pattern speed (Ωp, local = 20.3 ± 0.5 km s-1 kpc-1 and Ωp, runaway = 21.9 ± 8.6 km s-1 kpc-1) and the spiral arm's phase angle (φlocal = -53.1° ± 3.1° and φrunaway = -63.5° ± 22.5°). We also estimate the performance of this method once the data gathered by Gaia, in particular for runaway stars observed on the other side of the Galaxy, are available
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-510
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date26 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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