Abstract

The spatial variations of the velocity field of local stars provide direct evidence of Galactic differential rotation. The local divergence, shear, and vorticity of the velocity field—the traditional Oort constants—can be measured based purely on astrometric measurements and in particular depend linearly on proper motion and parallax. I use data for 304,267 main-sequence stars from the Gaia DR1 Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution to perform a local, precise measurement of the Oort constants at a typical heliocentric distance of 230 pc. The pattern of proper motions for these stars clearly displays the expected effects from differential rotation. I measure the Oort constants to be: A = 15.3 ± 0.4 km s−1 kpc−1, B = −11.9 ± 0.4 km s−1 kpc−1, C = −3.2 ± 0.4 km s−1 kpc−1 and K = −3.3 ± 0.6 km s−1 kpc−1, with no color trend over a wide range of stellar populations. These first confident measurements of C and K clearly demonstrate the importance of non-axisymmetry for the velocity field of local stars and they provide strong constraints on non-axisymmetric models of the Milky Way.

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