Astrophysics (index)

Velocity Dispersion

(σ, Dispersion)
(statistical dispersion of velocities of a group of objects)

A Velocity Dispersion (σ) is the Statistical Dispersion of velocities of a group of objects about the mean velocity. It is quality of interest in Open Clusters, Globular Clusters (GC), galaxies, Galaxy Clusters (CL), and Superclusters. Radial Velocity can be determined by Doppler Shift and the width of the effected Spectral Lines can determine dispersion, which, with the Virial Theorem, can determine the group's mass.

Statistical Dispersion characterizes the "spread". The Standard Deviation of a sample set is one measure of statistical dispersion.

The term Dispersion (or Chromatic Dispersion) is also used in optics and Spectroscopy (or any type of wave such as sound waves) to indicate waves' differences in velocity through a medium when the velocity depends upon the Frequency. This used for refractive Spectroscopes and is the source of chromatic Aberration in lenses.


Referenced by:
Fast Radio Burst (FRB)
Protoplanetary Disk
Virial Parameter
Virial Theorem