NGC 7099 :: new preprint
Riccardo Scarpa, Gianni Marconi, Roberto Gilmozzi, Giovanni Carraro
Using globular clusters to test gravity in the weak acceleration regime: NGC 7099
Comments: Accepted for publication in A&A Letters. Four pages in total
A test of Newton’s law of gravity in the low acceleration regime using globular clusters is presented. New results for the core collapsed globular cluster NGC 7099 are given. The run of the gravitational potential as a function of distance is probed studying the velocity dispersion profile of the cluster, as derived from a set of 125 radial velocities with accuracy better than 1 km/s. The velocity dispersion profile is traced up to ~18 pc from the cluster center. The dispersion is found to be maximal at the center, then decrease until 10+-2 pc from the center, well inside the cluster tidal radius of 42 pc. After that the dispersion remains constant with average value 2.2+-0.3 km/s. Assuming for NGC 7099 a total V mag of M(V)=-7.43 mags and mass-to-light ratio M/L=1, the acceleration at 10 pc from the center is 1.1e-8 cm/s/s. Thus, the flattening of the velocity dispersion profile occurs for a value of the internal acceleration of gravity fully consistent with a_0=1.2e-8 cm/s/s observed in galaxies. This new result for NGC 7099 brings to 4 the clusters with velocity dispersion profile probing acceleration below a_0. All four have been found to have a flat dispersion profile at large radii where the acceleration is below a_0, mimicking qualitatively and quantitatively elliptical galaxies. Whether this indicates a failure of Newtonian dynamics in the low acceleration limit or some more conventional dynamical effect (e.g., tidal heating) is still unclear. However, the similarities emerging between very different globular clusters, as well as between globular clusters and elliptical galaxies seem to favor the first of these two possibilities.