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Gas Accretion onto the Milky Way

  • Philipp RichterEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 430)

Abstract

The Milky Way is surrounded by large amounts of gaseous matter that are slowly being accreted over cosmic timescales to support star formation in the disk. The corresponding gas-accretion rate represents a key parameter for the past, present, and future evolution of the Milky Way. In this chapter, we discuss our current understanding of gas accretion processes in the Galaxy by reviewing past and recent observational and theoretical studies. The first part of this review deals with the spatial distribution of the different gas phases in the Milky Way halo, the origin of the gas, and its total mass. The second part discusses the gas dynamics and the physical processes that regulate the gas flow from the outer Galactic halo to the disk. From the most recent studies follows that the present-day gas accretion rate of the Milky Way is a few solar masses per year, which is sufficient to maintain the Galaxy’s star-formation rate at its current level.

Keywords

Accretion Rate Column Density Galactocentric Distance Virial Radius Satellite Galaxy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Andy Fox, Matt Haffner, Fabian Heitsch, Jürgen Kerp, and Sebastián Nuza for providing helpful comments and supplementary material for the figures.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Physik und AstronomieUniversität PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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