We use a sample of Milky Way (MW) analogues for which we have stellar and disc gas mass measurements, published measurements of halo gas masses of the MW and of similar galaxies, and the well-established value of the cosmological baryon fraction to place a lower bound on the mass of the Galaxy of 7.7 × 1011M⊙ and estimate that the mass is likely to be ≥1.2 × 1012 M⊙. Although most dynamical analyses yield measurements consistent with these results, several recent studies have advocated for a total mass well below 1012M⊙. We reject such low-mass estimates because they imply a Galactic baryon matter fraction significantly above the universal value. Convergence between dynamical mass estimates and those based on the baryonic mass is an important milestone in our understanding of galaxies.
- Galaxy: fundamental parameters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science