On position angle errors in the Tremaine–Weinberg method

Debattista, Victor P orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7902-0116 (2003) On position angle errors in the Tremaine–Weinberg method. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 342 (4). pp. 1194-1204. ISSN 0035-8711

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06620.x/pd...


I show that Tremaine–Weinberg (TW) measurements of bar pattern speeds are sensitive to errors in the position angle of the disc, PAdisc. I use an N-body experiment to measure these errors; for typical random PAdisc errors, the resulting scatter in the measured values of the dimensionless bar speed parameter R (defined as the ratio of the corotation radius to the bar semi-major axis) is of the order of the scatter in the observed values.
I also consider how the systematic PAdisc errors produced by disc ellipticities affect TW measurements. The scatter produced by these errors may be significant, depending on the ellipticity distribution. Conversely, by using the sample of TW observations, I find that an upper limit of the typical disc (density) ellipticity is 0.07 at the 90 per cent confidence level, which is in good agreement with previous measurements.
Taken together, the random and systematic scatter suggest that the intrinsic distribution of
R of gas-poor early-type barred galaxies may be as narrow as that of the gas-rich later types.

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