Non-circular Motions in the Outer Perseus Spiral Arm

Non-circular Motions in the Outer Perseus Spiral Arm

[    Mark J. Reid    Karl M. Menten    Andreas Brunthaler    Thomas M. Dame
January 26, 2019March 4, 2019March 22, 2019
January 26, 2019March 4, 2019March 22, 2019
January 26, 2019March 4, 2019March 22, 2019

We report measurements of parallax and proper motion for five 6.7-GHz methanol maser sources in the outer regions of the Perseus arm as part of the BeSSeL Survey of the Galaxy. By combining our results with previous astrometric results, we determine an average spiral arm pitch angle of deg and an arm width of 0.39 kpc for this spiral arm. For sources in the interior side of the Perseus arm, we find on average a radial inward motion in the Galaxy of km s and counter to Galactic rotation of km s. These characteristics are consistent with models for spiral arm formation that involve gas entering an arm to be shocked and then forming stars. However, similar data for other spiral arms do not show similar characteristics.

Galaxy:kinematics and dynamics — ISM:individual objects (G094.60-1.79, G098.03+1.44, G111.25-0.76, G136.84+1.16, G173.48+2.44, G188.94+0.88) — techniques:interferometric — VLBA
Corresponding author: Nobuyuki

0000-0002-0786-7307]Nobuyuki Sakai \move@AU\move@AF\@affiliationNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan \move@AU\move@AF\@affiliationKorea Astronomy Space Science Institute, 776, Daedeokdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34055, Korea


Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA


Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany


Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany


Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

1 Introduction

While spiral patterns can be prominent in disk galaxies, their formation mechanism and the dynamical evolution of spiral arms remain under discussion. Two general mechanisms for spiral arm formation have dominated the discussion in the literature: 1) density-wave theories (1964ApJ...140..646L; 1969ApJ...158..123R) and 2) dynamic theories (1965MNRAS.130..125G; 1969ApJ...158..899T). In density-wave theories, spiral structures are long-lived and rotate nearly uniformly, while stars and gas rotate differentially and pass through the arms. In dynamic theories, arms are short-lived and reform as open structures. They are seen in -body simulations of multi-arm spirals (e.g., 1984ApJ...282...61S; 2000Ap&SS.272...31S; 2010arXiv1001.5430S; 2002MNRAS.336..785S; 2005A&A...444....1F; 2011ApJ...730..109F), unbarred grand-design spirals (2011MNRAS.410.1637S), and barred spirals (e.g., 2009ApJ...706..471B; 2012MNRAS.426..167G; 2013MNRAS.432.2878R; 2015MNRAS.454.2954B).

Comparing the spatial distributions of stars and gas in a spiral arm may help to distinguish between the two mechanisms (e.g., 2014PASA...31...35D; 2015PASJ...67...69S; 2018ApJ...853L..23B; 2017MNRAS.465..460E). Density-wave theories predict a spatial offset between the gravitational potential minimum of a spiral arm (traced by the distribution of old stars) and the peak of gas density (1969ApJ...158..123R). On the other hand, dynamic (non-stationary) spiral-arm models predict that both star and gas accumulate into a minimum in the spiral potential and hence are not separated (e.g., 2008MNRAS.385.1893D; 2011ApJ...735....1W; 2015PASJ...67L...4B). In the future one could test these theories by comparing the 3-dimensional (3-d) positions of older stars measured by Gaia with that of masers from newly formed stars measured by Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

If gas entering a spiral arm is shocked prior to the formation of stars, the resulting stars should display the kinematic signature of that shock. By measuring 3-d velocity fields, one could therefore determine if such shocks occur and how strong they are. Such as the Bar and Spiral Structure Legacy (BeSSeL) Survey and VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) have yielded precise distances and 3-d velocity fields for high-mass star-forming regions (HMSFRs) associated with spiral arms (e.g., 2009ApJ...700..137R; 2012PASJ...64..136H; 2014ApJ...783..130R). Optical astrometric results from DR2 typically have parallax uncertainties larger than 20 as (e.g. see Fig. 7 in 2018A&A...616A...1G) and are starting to become significant for this type of study.

Recently, 2006Sci...311...54X, 2012PASJ...64..108S and 2014ApJ...790...99C showed evidence for systematic (radially) inward motion for HMSFRs in the Perseus arm. Here, we report new astrometric results obtained with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)444NRAO official HP:
Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which more clearly reveal the structure and kinematics of the Perseus arm. In section 2, we describe our VLBA observations. In section 3, we outline the data reduction. In section 4, we show new astrometric results for five 6.7-GHz CHOH masers. In section 5, we discuss the structure and kinematics of the Perseus arm, based on our new results and Gaia DR2 results for OB-type stars (taken from 2018A&A...616L..15X) and compare those with spiral arm models. In section 6, we summarize the paper.

2 Observation

We observed a total of six methanol masers (ie, the CHOH ( = 5 6) transition at a rest frequency of 6.668519 GHz) under VLBA programs BR149S, T and U (see Table A in the appendix)555Please also see the BeSSeL survey HP:
. Each set of observations was optimized to sample the peaks of the sinusoidal parallax signature in right ascension over one year, as described for previous BeSSeL Survey observations (e.g., 2016SciA....2E0878X; 2017AJ....154...63R). Each maser source, listed in Table A, was observed with three or four background quasars (QSOs). A single observation involved (i) four half-hour “geodetic blocks” spaced by about 2 hours for clock and atmospheric delay calibration, (ii) “manual phase-calibration” scans of a bright quasar (QSO) every 2 hours, iii) fast switching between a target maser and each QSO, used for relative position determination.

Observational data was recorded on the Mark5A system at 512 Mbps. Geodetic block data was taken in left circular polarization with four 16 MHz bands spanning 496 MHz centered at both 4.3 and 7.3 GHz (8 IFs in total). Fast switching data was taken in dual circular polarization with four adjacent 16-MHz bands spanning 64 MHz. The data were correlated with the DiFX software correlator (2011PASP..123..275D) in Socorro, NM. The fast switching data were correlated in two passes: for the maser (line) data the central 8 MHz of the third IF band was correlated with 1000 channels, giving a frequency (velocity) spacing of 8 kHz (0.36 km s) at the rest frequency. The continuum data for all IFs were correlated with 32 spectral channels.

3 Data reduction

The VLBA data reduction was conducted with the NRAO Astronomical Image Processing System (AIPS) and a ParselTongue pipeline described in previous BeSSeL Survey papers (e.g., 2009ApJ...693..397R). Details of the techniques employed to determine parallax and proper motion for 6.7-GHz CHOH masers are described in 2017AJ....154...63R. Here, we briefly outline the data reduction.

The largest source of relative position error for 6.7 GHz astrometric data is uncertainty in the ionospheric delay calibration. For the ionospheric delay calibration, we firstly applied the Global Ionospheric Maps obtained from NASA’s ftp server666 However, at our observing frequency of 6.7 GHz, tropospheric and ionospheric delay residuals can still be significant, with residual path-delays of 5 cm for both components. Using the geodetic-block observations, tropospheric (non-dispersive) delays were estimated by differencing delays at 4.3 and 7.3 GHz and subtracting these from the total delays. These were modeled as owing to a zenith delay for each observations block. To better calibrate the ionospheric delay residual, the delay differences between 4.3 and 7.3 GHz bands were scaled to the 6.7 GHz CHOH band and a residual zenith dispersive delay could also be determined.

After applying the geodetic-block calibrations to the phase-reference data, we used a bright maser spot as the phase reference for the associated QSOs. In cases where the maser displayed significant structure, we self-calibrated the maser data and applied these solutions to both maser and QSO data. All sources were imaged and the positions of compact components were determined by fitting elliptical Gaussian brightness distributions. The variations the positions of maser spots relative to background QSOs were then modeled as owing to parallax and proper motion components.

Delay residuals at 6.7 GHz are generally dominated by the ionospheric miscalibration and can cause a systematic position shift across the sky (so called ionospheric wedges). We used our multiple QSO data to account for these effects. As discussed in 2017AJ....154...63R, one can generate an “artificial QSO” at the position of the target maser to remove most of the effects of the ionospheric wedges. In this paper we incorporated an improved procedure that solved for the wedge effects at each epoch, while at the same time estimating the parallax and proper motion components as described in 2019arXiv190109313W.

4 Results


figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHref Results of parallax and proper-motion fitting. Plotted are position offsets of maser spots with respect to background QSOs toward the east (RAcos) and north () as a function of time. For clarity, the northerly data is plotted offset from the easterly data. Colored open-circles show the position offsets relative to 1st (red), 2nd (blue), 3rd (green) and 4th QSOs (purple) (see Table A in the Appendix). Filled circles represent unweighted averages of the QSO results. Error bars of the average QSO results are too small to be seen in most cases. (Top row) The best-fit models in the easterly and northerly directions are shown as continuous and dashed curves, respectively. (Bottom row) Same as top row, but with proper motions removed.

We estimated trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions for five of the six sources we observed. For G098.03+1.44 the brightest maser spot was too faint ( Jy) to use as a phase reference. In order to estimate a single proper motion for each source, we averaged the values for all spots. We adopted these values for the proper motion of the central star, but added km s in quadrature to the fitted error estimates for each motion coordinate in order to allow for uncertainty in this step. Note that class II CHOH masers generally have internal motions of about 5 km s (e.g., 2010ApJ...716.1356M). The parallax and proper motions results are summarized in Table 4.4 (see also Fig. 4).

Some sources have published parallax and proper motions for 22-GHz water or 12.2-GHz methanol masers as discussed below. When combining parallaxes, we used variance weighting. However, for combined proper motion estimates of 6.7-GHz methanol and 22-GHz water masers motions, we adopted the methanol values, since water masers typically form in outflows of tens of km s, and transferring the maser motions to that of the central star is less certain than from methanol masers.

We now briefly discuss some individual sources.

4.1 g094.601.79

All background QSOs were northward of the maser, rather than surrounding it. When accounting for the effects of ionospheric wedges, this requires extrapolation of the fitted planar position tilt instead of interpolation, and we expect increased parallax uncertainty. To allow for this, we added mas per degree of offset times the offset of the nearest QSO in quadrature with the formal parallax uncertainty. This parallax gradient error source is a rough estimate based on BeSSeL Survey experience fitting for 6.7 GHz data for many sources.

2010PASJ...62..101O used the VERA array and estimated a parallax of mas based on three 22-GHz water maser spots. In order to be conservative, we have inflated their uncertainty by to mas in order to allow for correlated systematic errors caused by similar differential atmospheric delay differences between maser spots and a background QSO. Generally, residual atmospheric delay errors dominate cm-wave VLBI parallax uncertainty. Another result for this source comes from 2014ApJ...790...99C, who obtained a 22-GHz parallax of mas using the VLBA. In order to assess if the three parallax results are statistically consistent we calculated parallax differences of , , and mas. Only the first difference is marginally statistically significant, while the other two are statistically insignificant. We conclude that these could reasonably have come from random differences and combine all three by variance-weighting to give a best parallax for G094.601.79 of mas.

4.2 g111.250.76

2014ApJ...790...99C derived a parallax of mas for water masers and the difference between this and our result is not statistically significant ( mas). Thus we variance-weighted them to obtain a best parallax of 0.2800.015 mas.

4.3 g136.84+1.16

All background QSOs were northward of the maser, and, as discussed above for G094.601.70, we inflated the parallax uncertainty to account for a likely (mas/degree) parallax gradient. However, since the maser’s structure was fairly extended, the final parallax uncertainty is quite large ( mas).

4.4 g188.94+0.88

2010PASJ...62..101O using VERA obtained a parallax of mas for water masers, while 2009ApJ...693..397R using the VLBA found a value of mas based on 12-GHz methanol masers. The differences among the three parallax measurements are not statistically significant (, , and mas), and we variance weighted them to obtain a best parallax of 0.4760.006 mas. For a combined proper motion, we use our 6.7-GHz and the published 12-GHz methanol maser result, yielding (, ) = (, ) mas yr, where we have added in quadrature km s for each component uncertainty.


table \hyper@makecurrenttable


Table 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHref6.7 GHz parallax and proper motion results

\tableline\tablelineSource Parallax cos
(mas) (mas yr) (mas yr)
\tablelineG094.601.79 0.1790.048 3.490.22 2.650.23
G111.250.76 0.2640.020 2.690.28 1.750.33
G136.84+1.16 0.4420.123 0.430.48 0.450.56
G173.48+2.44 0.5940.014 0.620.63 2.340.63
G188.94+0.88 0.4650.042 0.620.51 1.870.53

Note—Column 1 gives the source name, and column 2 gives our 6.7-GHz parallax result. Columns 3 and 4 list our measured proper-motion results in the eastward and northward directions, respectively. These motions are meant to represent those of the central star which excites the masers.

5 Discussion


figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefSpatial distribution and non-circular motions of Perseus-arm sources. Large red and small black filled circles show our and previous VLBI astrometric results. For clarity, only sources whose motion uncertainties are less than 20 km s are plotted. A scale of 20 km s (thick arrow) is displayed at the lower left. The solid curve represents a fitted logarithmic spiral model and the dashed lines indicate width. The Sun is at (X,Y) = (0, 8.34) kpc. The non-circular motions are with respect to Galactic constants ( kpc and km s) and a solar motion of (, , ) = (10.5, 14.4, 8.9) km s (2014ApJ...783..130R).

5.1 Pitch angle and arm width of the Perseus arm

Using the five astrometric results discussed above, along with other sources in the literature, we now evaluate the pitch angle and width of the Perseus arm based on 27 sources. Following 2014ApJ...783..130R, we fitted a logarithmic spiral-arm model to the locations of the Perseus arm sources using the following equation:


where and are a Galactocentric radius (kpc) at a reference azimuth (radians). Azimuth () is defined as zero toward the Sun as viewed from the Galactic center and increases with Galactic longitude, and is the spiral pitch angle. = 13.2 degrees was chosen to be near the midpoint of the azimuth values. Our best fitting values are = 9.93 0.09 kpc and = 9.2 1.5 degrees. These results are consistent with those in 2014ApJ...783..130R within errors. The arm’s width, defined as the scatter in the sources perpendicular to the fitted arm, is 0.39 kpc.

5.2 Non-circular motion in the Perseus arm

We now assess the three-dimensional non-circular (peculiar) motions of Perseus arm sources, based on the parallaxes, proper motions and LSR velocities. The LSR velocity of the central star is estimated from the masers and from observations of thermal line emission (e.g., CO) from the parent cloud. Peculiar motions are referenced to a model Galactic rotation curve, using Galactic parameters ( and ), and solar motion (, , ). Note that values are positive directed toward the Galactic center, is in the direction of the Galactic rotation, and is toward the north Galactic pole. In the following, we use 24 of the 27 sources available, removing three outliers (G043.16+0.01, owing to its large motion uncertainty of km s, and G108.20+0.58 and G229.57+0.15 owing to their large deviation of 2.2 from the spiral arm fit).


figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHref(Left) Non-circular motion toward the Galactic center () as a function of distance perpendicular to the center of the Perseus arm () for VLBI astrometric results. Large red and small black filled circles show our and previous VLBI astrometric results, respectively. Note that positive value means exterior of the Perseus arm as viewed from the Galactic center. The vertical dashed line represents 0.5 (kpc), where kpc. The cyan line highlights a significant slope () for a weighted least-squares fit giving 25.4(8.2)+6.4(2.4). (Middle) Same as (Left), but for non-circular motion in the direction of the Galactic rotation (). No significant velocity gradient was found for this component. (Right) Same as (Left), but for non-circular motion toward the north Galactic pole (). As for , no significant velocity gradient was obtained.


table \hyper@makecurrenttable

Table 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefStatistics for non-circular motion across the Perseus arm.

\tableline\tableline Interior side Middle region Exterior
(km s) (km s (km s) (km s) (km s) (km s) (km s) (km s) (km s)
(9 masers) (10 masers) (5 masers)
13.35.4 2.52.8 0.02.4 5.92.1 6.23.2 1.03.0 2.77.6 3.42.8 4.63.5

Note—Columns 1-3 represent unweighted means of the non-circular motion components (, , ) for masers at , where (= 0.39 kpc) is the arm width of the Perseus arm. The uncertainties are the standard error of the mean. The numbers of sources available are indicated in parentheses. A number with the bold font emphasizes a statistical significance greater than . Columns 4-6 are for masers at . Columns 7-9 are for masers at .

Figure 5 shows the non-circular motions of Perseus-arm sources with uncertainties less than 20 km s. The solid curve in Fig. 5 represents a logarithmic spiral-arm fit and the dashed lines indicate () width (see section 5.1). Figure 5.2 plots the non-circular motions as a function of distance perpendicular to the arm, , defined positive outward from the arm. Interestingly, we see a significant velocity gradient of km s kpc in vs. . Note that excluding the two high points with km s and kpc as potential outliers still yields a significant gradient of km s kpc. The other peculiar motion components () do not show a statistically significant gradient across the spiral arm.

As an alternative approach to examining systematics in the peculiar motions, Table 5.2 presents unweighted means of (, , ) in three bins: the interior given by ), the middle given by ( (kpc) ), and the exterior given by (). In the above, is a Gaussian width for the arm, which we estimate to be 0.39 kpc. For uncertainties, we adopt the standard error of the mean, because the scatter evident in Figures 5.2(Left) is much larger than would be suggested by the measurement uncertainties, indicating there is significant “astrophysical” noise.

As anticipated by the negative gradient of vs , the results in Table 5.2 show that sources toward the interior side of the arm are moving radially inward with km s (2.5 for 9 masers), while sources exterior to the arm show a small average motion of km s (for 5 masers). Regarding the component of peculiar motion, the result in Table 5.2 provides marginally significant evidence for a small average motion counter to Galactic rotation of km s (1.9 for 10 maser) in the middle region of the Perseus arm. We investigated the sensitivity of the above results to the value of the value of the pitch angle used to define the trace of the Perseus arm. Changing the pitch angle by and recalculated the average peculiar motions on the interior, middle and exterior of the arm yielded no significant changes.

We now compare our observational results with basic predictions from various models for spiral arm formation.

5.2.1 Density wave model without shock

Linear density-wave theories which rely purely on gravity have difficulty explaining the radially inward motion at the interior side of the Perseus spiral arm as observed in the VLBI astrometric data. This is because gas entering an overdense arm is accelerated gravitationally and should show radially outward motion at the interior side of the arm as shown in Fig. 10 of 2015PASJ...67...69S.


figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHref(Left) Non-circular motion toward the Galactic center () is expressed as a function of distance perpendicular to the Perseus arm () for masers in the Galactic longitude range = 110115 deg. Large red and small black circles show our and previous VLBI astrometric results, respectively. The cyan curve represents a hydrodynamic-shock model with a spiral pitch angle of 12 degrees, a pattern speed of 12.5 km s kpc, a gas dispersion speed of 8 km s and a spiral potential with a 7.5% enhancement compared to the axisymmetric potential (taken from Fig. 4 of 1972ApJ...173..259R). (Middle) Same as (left) but for sources at the Galactic longitude range = 130140 deg. A hydrodynamic shock model shown by a green curve is from Fig. 3 of 1972ApJ...173..259R. (Right) Same as left but for VLBI astrometric results from the entire Perseus arm. The cyan and green curves from the other panels are superimposed.

5.2.2 Density wave model with a shock

\H@refstepcounter table \hyper@makecurrenttable Table 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefNon-circular motion for Perseus, Local and Sagittarius arms.

Spiral Type Interior side Exterior Arm (km s) (km s) (km s) (km s Perseus Masers 13.35.4 2.52.8 9 2.77.6 3.42.8 5 Local Masers 2.32.8 5.11.0 4 4.44.1 6.12.1 6 OB stars 2.70.9 0.91.6 119 5.33.9 4.92.6 50 Sagittarius Masers 3.14.6 2.63.5 3 11.16.8 15.54.6 3 OB stars 0 1.13.5 7.21.3 32

Note—Columns 1-2 indicates the spiral arm and type of observational data. Columns 3-4 show unweighted means of the non-circular motion components (, ) for sources at , where is the arm width and is perpendicular distance for each spiral arm (taken from 2014ApJ...783..130R). Note that positive value means exterior of each arm as viewed from the Galactic center. An error in each mean shows the standard error of the mean. A number with the bold font indicates a statistical significance greater than 2. Column 5 represents the number of the sources. Columns 6-8 are the same as the Columns 3-5, but for sources at .


Our finding of a large positive value, corresponding to radially inward motion, for the interior side of the Perseus arm is consistent with density wave theories which include a shock as gas in circular Galactic orbits encounters slower rotating spiral arms (1969ApJ...158..123R; 1972ApJ...173..259R) triggering the formation of stars. The hydrodynamic shock model of 1972ApJ...173..259R with a pitch angle, , of , a pattern speed, , of 12.5 km s kpc, a gaseous dispersion speed, , of 8 km s, and a spiral potential with an enhancement, , of 7.5% compared to the axisymmetric potential, predicts a velocity jump in front of the gravitational potential minimum as shown by Fig. 1 of 1972ApJ...173..259R.

If we assume the full jump velocity is in the line-of-sight direction, the line-of-sight vector of 1972ApJ...173..259R model can be decomposed into (and ) jumps by subtracting the rotation curve model of 1972ApJ...173..259R. This assumption is reasonable for the Perseus arm at the Galactic longitude range = 110140 (deg) since the non-circular motion vectors in Fig. 5 are aligned in the line-of-sight direction at the section. The jumps with amplitudes of 2030 km s, shown by cyan and green curves in Fig. 5.2.1, indicate large positive values for the interior side of the Perseus arm and no significant values for the exterior of the arm, which are consistent with the observational results. We also investigated the shock model of 1972ApJ...173..259R with = 8 and = 5% (taken from his Figures 7 and 8) and found similar characteristics, but with shock velocities decreased to 1020 km s and the shock locations shifted by 150 pc.

5.2.3 Dynamic spiral arm formation

We now compare the observational results with a dynamic spiral-arm model proposed by 2018ApJ...853L..23B. The dynamic spiral-arm model is a barred spiral galaxy generated from bodyhydrodynamics simulations, and amplitudes, pitch angles, and pattern speeds of spiral arms change within a few hundred million years. 2018ApJ...853L..23B picked spiral arms in growth and disruption phases, respectively, from the model. The growth phase has negative value for the interior side of an arm and thus is inconsistent with our observational results. While the disruption phase has positive for the interior side of the arm, it has negative values for the exterior of the arm, and thus also does not agree with our observational results.

5.3 Universality of non-circular arm motions

We confirm that the shock model of 1972ApJ...173..259R can explain the observed radially inward motions in the interior side of the Perseus arm. In order to investigate the universality of these motions, we examine the non-circular motions for other spiral arms using the same procedure applied to the Perseus arm and the VLBI astrometric results compiled in 2014ApJ...783..130R. We also examine DR2 results for OB-type stars taken from Fig. 2(a) of 2018A&A...616L..15X. Table 5.2.2 displays the non-circular motion components (, ) for the interior and exterior of the spiral arms. While there are some statistically significant average motions, no clear trend is evident for these spiral arms, suggesting a more complex picture than expected from the basic models discussed above.

6 Summary

We presented parallaxes and proper motions for five 6.7-GHz methanol masers associated with HMSFRs in the outer portion of the Perseus spiral arm as part of the BeSSeL Survey of the Galaxy (see Figure 4 and Table 4.4). Combining these new and previous VLBI results, we determined a spiral-arm pitch angle of 9.2 1.5 deg and an arm width of 0.39 kpc (see Section 5.1).

We divided the sources into interior, middle and exterior regions of the Perseus arm and averaged the non-circular motion components (, , ) for each region. For nine sources in the interior of the arm, we found a radially inward motion of = 13.3 5.4 km s; for 10 sources in the middle of the arm, we obtained a marginal detection of motion slower than Galactic rotation of = 6.2 3.2 km s; and for 5 sources in the exterior of the arm, we found no statistically significant non-circular motion (see Section 5.2 and Table 5.2). These characteristics are consistent with predictions of models for spiral arm formation that involve gas entering an arm to be shocked and then forming stars as shown by Fig. 5.2.1.

We performed a similar analysis on previous VLBI astrometric data, as well as on DR2 results for OB-type stars, for stars in other spiral arms. While some statistically significant non-circular motions are found in other arms, no clear pattern among arms was found (see Table 5.2.2). This suggests a more complex picture than expected from basic spiral-arm models.

We acknowledge anonymous referee for valuable comments, which improved the manuscript.

Facility: VLBA.





A Appendix

Here, we show supplemental materials to further document observations (Table A) and detailed maser maps for (Fig. A).


table \hyper@makecurrenttable


Table 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefObservational Information.

\tableline\tablelineProject Source R.A. Decl. Epoch 1 Epoch 2 Epoch 3 Epoch 4
(hh:mm:ss) (dd:mm:ss) (in 2012) (in 2013) (in 2013) (in 2013)
\tablelineBR149S G136.84+1.16 02:49:33.609 +60:48:27.92 Dec 08 May 19 June 24 Nov 24
J0244+6228 02:44:57.6966 +62:28:06.517
J0248+6214 02:48:58.8920 +62:14:09.678
J0306+6243 03:06:42.6595 +62:43:02.024
\tablelineBR149T G173.48+2.44 05:39:13.066 +35:45:51.28 Sep 22 March 09 April 05 Sep 13
J0530+3723 05:30:12.5493 +37:23:32.620
J0539+3308 05:39:09.6722 +33:08:15.496
J0541+3301 05:41:49.4359 +33:01:31.890
J0552+3754 05:52:17.9369 +37:54:25.281
G188.94+0.88 06:08:53.341 +21:38:29.08
J0603+2159 05:30:12.5493 +37:23:32.620
J0607+2129 06:07:59.5657 +21:29:43.720
J0607+2218 06:07:17.4360 +22:18:19.080
J0608+2229 06:08:34.3109 +22:29:42.981
\tablelineBR149U G094.601.79 21:39:58.258 +50:14:21.02 Dec 03 May 12 June 06 Nov 23
J2137+5101 21:37:00.9862 +51:01:36.129
J2145+5147 21:45:07.6666 +51:47:02.243
J2150+5103 21:50:14.2662 +51:03:32.264
(J2139+5300) 21:39:53.6244 +53:00:16.599
(G098.03+1.44) 21:43:01.431 +54:56:17.72
J2123+5452 21:23:46.8349 +54:52:43.488
(J2139+5300) 21:39:53.6244 +53:00:16.599
J2139+5540 21:39:32.6175 +55:40:31.771
J2145+5147 21:45:07.6666 +51:47:02.243
G111.250.76 23:16:10.327 +59:55:28.66
J2339+6010 23:39:21.1252 +60:10:11.849
J2254+6209 22:54:25.2926 +62:09:38.723
J2301+5706 23:01:26.6271 +57:06:25.499
(J2314+5813) 23:14:19.0833 +58:13:47.647

Note—Column 1 shows project name. Column 2 lists an observed 6.7 GHz CHOH maser source (as denoted by “G”) and background QSOs (as denoted by “J”). Parenthesis indicates an extended source, which was removed from the parallax determination. Columns 3-4 represent equatorial coordinates for the source in (J2000). Columns 5-8 show dates of observations.


figure \hyper@makecurrentfigure

Figure 0. \Hy@raisedlink\hyper@@anchor\@currentHrefMaser spot distributions for (a) G094.601.79, (b) G098.03+1.44, (c) G111.250.76, (d) G136.84+1.16, (e) G173.48+2.44 and (f) G188.94+0.88. The distributions were made using 1st epoch data of individual sources. The origin of coordinates for each map is described in Table A. The horizontal red arrow in each map, except for G098.03+1.44, shows an absolute spatial scale converted at a source distance (see Table 4.4). Color bar indicates the local standard of rest (LSR) velocity. The size of a maser spot is proportional to (Jy/beam).

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