EDP Sciences
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Volume 370, Number 3, May II 2001
Page(s) L45 - L48
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010374

A&A 370, L45-L48 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010374

Structure in the velocity space of globular clusters

E. J. Alfaro1, A. J. Delgado1, M. A. Gómez-Flechoso2, F. Ferrini3 and I. Castro1

1  Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Apdo. 3004, Granada 18080, Spain
2  Observatoire de Genève, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
3  INTAS, 58 avenue des Arts, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

(Received 2 February 2001 / Accepted 14 March 2001 )

We present an analysis of the velocity space of a sample of globular clusters (GC) with absolute proper motions. The vertical component of the velocity is found to be correlated with luminosity and galactocentric radius. We divided the sample into two luminosity groups above and below the peak of the luminosity function (LF), MV=-7.5, for Galactic GCs. The two groups display different kinematic behaviour according to the first and second statitical moments of the velocity distribution as well as distinct velocity ellipsoids. The velocity ellipsoid of the high luminosity clusters is aligned with the symmetry axes of the Galaxy, whereas the minor axis of the Low Luminosity group is strongly inclined relative to the Galactic rotation axis.

Key words: Galaxy: formation -- Galaxy: globular clusters: general -- Galaxy: halo -- Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics -- Galaxy: structure

Offprint request: E. J. Alfaro, emilio@iaa.es

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