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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 136-138 (1998)

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The radial scale length of the Milky Way

C. Porcel 1, F. Garzón 2, J. Jiménez-Vicente 1 and E. Battaner 1

1 Departamento de Fsica Teórica y del Cosmos, Universidad de Granada, Spain
2 Instituto de Astrofsica de Canarias, E-38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

Received 8 July 1997 / Accepted 2 October 1997


The radial scale length of the exponential component of the disc of the Milky Way has been determined in the near infrared. We have used the TMGS (Two Micron Galactic Survey) database which contains positions and K-magnitudes of about 700.000 stars distributed in serveral regions along the galactic plane. From those we have selected areas more than [FORMULA] off the plane to minimize the effect of extinction and the contributions of the young disc; and with longitudes ranging from [FORMULA] to [FORMULA], to avoid contaminations from the central bulge, the bar and the molecular ring, in the inner end, and from the local arm, the warp and the truncation of the disc, in the outer end. We observed stars with magnitude [FORMULA]. The use of the NIR K-band also reduces the effect of extinction. In the observation region, [FORMULA] stars are K2-K5 III stars, with an absolute magnitude that is nearly constant, which also greatly simplifies the problem. We have obtained the value [FORMULA] for the radial scale length, which is a typical value when compared with external galaxies of similar types.

Key words: Galaxy: structure – Galaxy: fundamental parameters – infrared: stars


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 8, 1998