Outer galactic disks and a quantitative test of gravity at low accelerations

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Abstract

We use the recent measurement of the velocity dispersion of star-forming, outer-disk knots by Herbert-Fort et al. in the nearly face-on galaxy NGC 628, in combination with other data from the literature, to execute a straightforward test of gravity at low accelerations. Specifically, the rotation curve at large radius sets the degree of non-standard acceleration and then the predicted scale height of the knots at that radius provides the test of the scenario. For our demonstration, we presume that the Hα knots, which are young (age < 10 Myr), are distributed like the gas from which they have recently formed and find a marginal (>97% confidence) discrepancy with a modified gravity scenario given the current data. More interestingly, we demonstrate that there is no inherent limitation that prevents such a test from reaching possible discrimination at the >4σ level with a reasonable investment of observational resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L11-L14
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume720
Issue number1 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Keywords

  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Gravitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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