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Equilibrium models of the Milky Way mass are biased high by the LMC

Erkal, Denis, Belokurov, Vasily A and Parkin, Daniel L (2020) Equilibrium models of the Milky Way mass are biased high by the LMC Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 498 (4). pp. 5574-5580.

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Recent measurements suggest that the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) may weigh as much as 25 per cent of the Milky Way (MW). In this work, we explore how such a large satellite affects mass estimates of the MW based on equilibrium modelling of the stellar halo or other tracers. In particular, we show that if the LMC is ignored, the MW mass within 200 kpc is overestimated by as much as 50 per cent. This bias is due to the bulk motion in the outskirts of the Galaxy’s halo and can be, at least in part, accounted for with a simple modification to the equilibrium modelling. Finally, we show that the LMC has a substantial effect on the orbit Leo I which acts to increase its present-day speed relative to the MW. We estimate that accounting for a 1.5×1011M LMC would lower the inferred MW mass to ∼1012M⁠.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Belokurov, Vasily A
Parkin, Daniel L
Date : 19 September 2020
DOI : 10.1093/mnras/staa2840
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Galaxy: evolution. Galaxy: halo. Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics. Magellanic Clouds.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 06 Oct 2020 12:03
Last Modified : 06 Oct 2020 12:03

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