Polar ring galaxies as tests of gravity

F. Lüghausen*, B. Famaey, P. Kroupa, G. Angus, F. Combes, G. Gentile, O. Tiret, H. Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Polar ring galaxies are ideal objects with which to study the three-dimensional shapes of galactic gravitational potentials since two rotation curves can be measured in two perpendicular planes. Observational studies have uncovered systematically larger rotation velocities in the extended polar rings than in the associated host galaxies. In the dark matter context, this can only be explained through dark haloes that are systematically flattened along the polar rings. Here, we point out that these objects can also be used as very effective tests of gravity theories, such as those based on Milgromian dynamics (also known as Modified Newtonian Dynamics or MOND).We run a set of polar ring models using bothMilgromian and Newtonian dynamics to predict the expected shapes of the rotation curves in both planes, varying the total mass of the system, the mass of the ring with respect to the host and the size of the hole at the centre of the ring. We find that Milgromian dynamics not only naturally leads to rotation velocities being typically higher in the extended polar rings than in the hosts, as would be the case in Newtonian dynamics without dark matter, but that it also gets the shape and amplitude of velocities correct. Milgromian dynamics thus adequately explains this particular property of polar ring galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2846-2853
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Dynamics-dark matter
  • General-galaxies
  • gravitation-galaxies
  • Individual
  • Kinematics
  • NGC 4650A-galaxies


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