This page contains movies illustrating parts of the poster and links to the cited references. You can also download the poster as a pdf file.


The Vast Polar Structure around the Milky Way


Animated version of Figure 5 in Pawlowski et al. (2012):

The vast polar structure – VPOS – about the MW in Cartesian coordinates. The movie rotates the view over 360º, adding different objects around the Milky Way galaxy. The y-axis points towards the Galactic north pole. The 11 classical satellites are shown as yellow dots, the 13 new satellites are represented by the smaller green dots, young halo globular clusters are plotted as blue squares. The red curves connect the anchor points of streams of stars and gas, the (light-red) shaded regions illustrating the planes defined by these and the Galactic centre. Note that the stream coordinates are magnified by a factor of 3 to ease the comparison. The obscuration-region 10º around the Milky Way disc is given by the horizontal grey areas. In the centre, the Milky Way disc orientation (edge-on) is shown by a short horizontal cyan line. One can clearly see when the view is edge-on to the VPOS: The extend of all types of objects becomes minimal, also the streams align preferentially with this structure. From standard dark matter cosmology, a much more spheroidal distribution of objects around the Milky Way is expected. We therefore propose the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way to be Tidal Dwarf Galaxies.

REFERENCE: M. S. Pawlowski, J. Pflamm-Altenburg, P. Kroupa: “The VPOS: a vast polar structure of satellite galaxies, globular clusters and streams around the Milky Way”, MNRAS, 2012

YouTube link:

Download: VPOS.m4v (7 MB)

Planes of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group

These three movies show the distribution of dwarf galaxies (satellites and non-satellites) in the Local Group, within ~1.5 Mpc from the MW-M31 mid-point. The positions and orientation of the Milky Way and of the Andromeda Galaxy are shown, too. The three movies start in the same orientation, so is it possible to put them on top of each other in a presentation, set them to loop and let the upper ones fade on click out give the impression that the satellite and non-satellite planes fade in when you are ready for it.

Related publication: Pawlowski, Kroupa & Jerjen (2013, MNRAS, 435, 1928).

  1. Movie 1: (2.2 MB; positions only, no planes).
  2. Movie 2: (3.9 MB; positions and satellite galaxy planes. Green plane is average orbital plane deduced from MW satellites).
  3. Movie 3: (11.6 MB; positions, Satellite galaxy planes and non-satellite LG planes).


The poster is based on these of my publications:

Other references: