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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2022

Self-consistent modelling of the Milky Way's nuclear stellar disc

Mattia C. Sormani
  • Function : Author
Jason L. Sanders
  • Function : Author
Tobias K. Fritz
  • Function : Author
Leigh C. Smith
  • Function : Author
Ortwin Gerhard
  • Function : Author
Rainer Schödel
  • Function : Author
John Magorrian
  • Function : Author
Nadine Neumayer
Francisco Nogueras-Lara
  • Function : Author
Anja Feldmeier-Krause
  • Function : Author
Banafsheh Shahzamanian
  • Function : Author
Eugene Vasiliev
  • Function : Author
Ralf S. Klessen
  • Function : Author
Philip Lucas
  • Function : Author
Dante Minniti


The nuclear stellar disc (NSD) is a flattened high-density stellar structure that dominates the gravitational field of the Milky Way at Galactocentric radius $30\, {\rm pc}\lesssim R\lesssim 300\, {\rm pc}$. We construct axisymmetric self-consistent equilibrium dynamical models of the NSD in which the distribution function is an analytic function of the action variables. We fit the models to the normalized kinematic distributions (line-of-sight velocities + VIRAC2 proper motions) of stars in the NSD survey of Fritz et al., taking the foreground contamination due to the Galactic Bar explicitly into account using an N-body model. The posterior marginalized probability distributions give a total mass of $M_{\rm NSD} = 10.5^{+1.1}_{-1.0} \times 10^8 \, \, \rm M_\odot$, roughly exponential radial and vertical scale lengths of $R_{\rm disc} = 88.6^{+9.2}_{-6.9} \, {\rm pc}$ and $H_{\rm disc}=28.4^{+5.5}_{-5.5} \, {\rm pc}$, respectively, and a velocity dispersion $\sigma \simeq 70\, {\rm km\, s^{-1}}$ that decreases with radius. We find that the assumption that the NSD is axisymmetric provides a good representation of the data. We quantify contamination from the Galactic Bar in the sample, which is substantial in most observed fields. Our models provide the full 6D (position + velocity) distribution function of the NSD, which can be used to generate predictions for future surveys. We make the models publicly available as part of the software package AGAMA.
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Dates and versions

insu-03656892 , version 1 (07-04-2023)



Mattia C. Sormani, Jason L. Sanders, Tobias K. Fritz, Leigh C. Smith, Ortwin Gerhard, et al.. Self-consistent modelling of the Milky Way's nuclear stellar disc. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2022, 512, pp.1857-1884. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stac639⟩. ⟨insu-03656892⟩
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