SCYON Abstract

Received on April 8 2010

Concerning the Distance to the Center of the Milky Way and its Structure

AuthorsDaniel J. Majaess
AffiliationSaint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Abbey Ridge Observatory, Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada.
To appear inActa A.


The distance to the Galactic center inferred from OGLE RR Lyrae variables observed in the direction of the bulge is Ro=8.1+-0.6 kpc. An accurate determination of Ro is hindered by countless effects that include an ambiguous extinction law, a bias for smaller values of Ro because of a preferential sampling of variable stars toward the near side of the bulge owing to extinction, and an uncertainty in characterizing how a mean distance to the group of variable stars relates to Ro. A VI-based period-reddening relation for RR Lyrae variables is derived to map extinction throughout the bulge. The reddening inferred from RR Lyrae variables in the Galactic bulge, LMC, SMC, and IC 1613 match that established from OGLE red clump giants and classical Cepheids. RR Lyrae variables obey a period-colour (VI) relation that is relatively insensitive to metallicity. Edge-on and face-on illustrations of the Milky Way are constructed by mapping the bulge RR Lyrae variables in tandem with cataloged red clump giants, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, classical Cepheids, young open clusters, HII regions, and molecular clouds. The sample of RR Lyrae variables do not trace a prominent Galactic bar or triaxial bulge oriented at phi~25 degrees.