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Distant satellites as probes of our Galaxy's mass distribution
Little, Blane; Tremaine, Scott
AA(Toronto, University, Canada), AB(Toronto, University, Canada)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 320, Sept. 15, 1987, p. 493-501. NSERC-supported research. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Astrometry, Dark Matter, Galactic Structure, Mass Distribution, Milky Way Galaxy, Stellar Motions, Bayes Theorem, Eccentricity, Halos, Orbital Velocity, Radial Velocity, Star Distribution
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A new method of statistical analysis based on Bayes' theorem is devised and used directly to yield confidence intervals for the mass of the Galaxy once the eccentricity distribution of its satellites are specified. If the satellites have an isotropic velocity distribution, then the Galactic mass is less than about 5.2 x 10 to the 11th solar masses at the 95 percent confidence level. If the Galaxy is modeled as an infinite halo with constant circular speed v(c) and the velocities are isotropic, then the analysis predicts v(c) of less than about 165 km/s at the 95 percent confidence level. If the satellite orbits are more radial, then the estimates are lower. These results suggest that the Galaxy's massive dark halo extends to less than about 50 kpc from the Galactic center.

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