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Massive dark clusters and the heating problem of galactic discs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Francisco Sanchez-Salcedo


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In this paper, we speculate on the possibility of the existence of a clustered thick disc-like component of dark matter in the Milky Way. We calculate the heating rate of the stellar disc embedded in such a dark disc made up of massive clusters, as a result of gravitational scattering. There is a region of parameter space of massive clusters (∼106 M⊙) satisfying observational and dynamical constraints for which such a component would contribute significantly to the heating of the disc without a sensible destruction of the three-dimensional globular cluster system. Little observable heating by dark clusters in the solar neighbourhood is produced in the case of a local (number cluster per unit area × mass of a cluster squared) < 8 × 106 M2⊙ pc-2. For other galaxies, this scenario may allow the stellar velocity dispersion to have different age dependences such as, for example, that recently suggested for IC 2531. Other consequences on the galactic discs are also discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sanchez-Salcedo FJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Year: 1999

Volume: 303

Issue: 4

Pages: 755-772

Print publication date: 11/03/1999

ISSN (print): 0035-8711

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2966

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.1999.02263.x


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