Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 3–14 | Cite as

Galactic mass determinations from incomplete rotation curves

  • Mary M. Schaefer
  • George Rybicki
  • Myron Lecar


Given an incomplete rotation curve of a spiral galaxy, various assumptions about the Galaxy beyond the last observed point are made: (A) the force falls off as 1/r2, (B) the mass density is zero, and (C) the mass density falls off as 1/r3. The msss distributions obtained from each of these assumptions are all well behaved, and it is impossible to choose the correct curve from considerations of the resulting mass distributions alone. The correct mass distribution in the disk system of a galaxy cannot be deduced from an incomplete rotation curve.


Mass Distribution Mass Density Rotation Curve Spiral Galaxy Mass Determination 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary M. Schaefer
    • 1
  • George Rybicki
    • 2
  • Myron Lecar
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Engineering and Applied PhysicsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Center for AstrophysicsHarvard College Observatory and Smithsonian Astrophysical ObservatoryCambridgeUSA

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