Globular Clusters and Satellite Galaxies: Companions to the Milky Way

Duncan Forbes, Pavel Kroupa, Manuel Metz and Lee Spitler

Interactive 3D figure of the Milky Way, its globular cluster system and its dwarf satellite galaxies. The figure opens looking down onto the disk of the Milky Way. The large white, fuzzy spheres represent dwarf satellite galaxies. The small blue and red spheres represent globular clusters (GCs) that are poor and rich in heavy chemical elements respectively. The yellow sphere represents the Sun, from which the green `spider web' structure shows the volume of the sky covered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The figure can be controlled interactively in most web browsers which have Flash 9 installed. First click to start. Arrows allow the user to rotate left/right and up/down. Use the = key to zoom in, and the - key to zoom out. To view the great plane simply pan to the right and zoom out. In this orientation you can see that a large fraction of the dwarf satellites and outer GCs align near a great plane. This is not simply a selection effect, as much of the SDSS search volume is empty of dwarf satellites. This 3D figure was produced using the S2PLOT software package. Feel free to `fly around' the Milky Way and its companions.