Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Weighing the local dark matter with RAVE red clump stars

Bienaymé, O.; Famaey, B.; Siebert, A.; Freeman, K. C.; Gibson, B. K.; Gilmore, G.; Grebel, E. K.; Bland-Hawthorn, J.; Kordopatis, G.; Munari, U.; Navarro, J. F.; Parker, Q.; Reid, W.; Seabroke, G. M.; Siviero, A.; Steinmetz, M.; Watson, F.; Wyse, R. F. G.; Zwitter, T.


O. Bienaymé

B. Famaey

A. Siebert

K. C. Freeman

Profile Image

Professor Brad Gibson
Head of Dept, Physics & Maths; Director, E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics

G. Gilmore

E. K. Grebel

J. Bland-Hawthorn

G. Kordopatis

U. Munari

J. F. Navarro

Q. Parker

W. Reid

G. M. Seabroke

A. Siviero

M. Steinmetz

F. Watson

R. F. G. Wyse

T. Zwitter


We determine the Galactic potential in the solar neigbourhood from RAVE observations. We select red clump stars for which accurate distances, radial velocities, and metallicities have been measured. Combined with data from the 2MASS and UCAC catalogues, we build a sample of ~4600 red clump stars within a cylinder of 500 pc radius oriented in the direction of the South Galactic Pole, in the range of 200 pc to 2000 pc distances. We deduce the vertical force and the total mass density distribution up to 2 kpc away from the Galactic plane by fitting a distribution function depending explicitly on three isolating integrals of the motion in a separable potential locally representing the Galactic one with four free parameters. Because of the deep extension of our sample, we can determine nearly independently the dark matter mass density and the baryonic disc surface mass density. We find (i) at 1 kpc Kz/ (2πG) = 68.5 ± 1.0 M⊙ pc-2; and (ii) at 2 kpc Kz/ (2πG) = 96.9 ± 2.2 M⊙ pc-2. Assuming the solar Galactic radius at R0 = 8.5 kpc, we deduce the local dark matter density ρDM(z = 0) = 0.0143 ± 0.0011 M⊙pc-3 = 0.542 ± 0.042 Gev cm-3 and the baryonic surface mass density Σbar = 44.4 ± 4.1 M⊙pc-2. Our results are in agreement with previously published Kz determinations up to 1 kpc, while the extension to 2 kpc shows some evidence for an unexpectedly large amount of dark matter. A flattening of the dark halo of order 0.8 can produce such a high local density in combination with a circular velocity of 240 km s-1. It could also be consistent with a spherical cored dark matter profile whose density does not drop sharply with radius. Another explanation, allowing for a lower circular velocity, could be the presence of a secondary dark component, a very thick disc resulting either from the deposit of dark matter from the accretion of multiple small dwarf galaxies, or from the presence of an effective “phantom” thick disc in the context of effective galactic-scale modifications of gravity.


Bienaymé, O., Famaey, B., Siebert, A., Freeman, K. C., Gibson, B. K., Gilmore, G., …Zwitter, T. (2014). Weighing the local dark matter with RAVE red clump stars. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 571, A92.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2014
Publication Date Nov 1, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 6, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2016
Journal Astronomy and astrophysics
Print ISSN 0004-6361
Electronic ISSN 1432-0746
Publisher EDP Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 571
Article Number ARTN A92
Pages A92
Keywords Galaxies : kinematics and dynamics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the authors accepted version of an article published in Astronomy and astrophysics, 2015, v.571.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations