Astrophysics (Index)About

stellar kinematics

(science of the movement of stars)

Stellar kinematics, the study of the movement of stars, is carried out to track their location, to study stellar dynamics, and to help group stars according to their origin, thus assisting in the study the history of star formation and stellar evolution, and in the case of binary stars, stellar parameter determination. Basic is parallax and peculiar velocity (through astrometry), and radial velocity (through spectrography) and other cosmic distance ladder techniques.

Often, the distance to the star is less securely established than the other dimensions, providing a challenge to knowing the exact position. Similar position and, movement, along with metallicity, and spectral type lead to their grouping into stellar clusters or stellar associations, in turn very useful for the study of their formation and evolution. The kinematics of all Milky Way stars leads to the rotation curve. Doppler shift allows some investigation of stellar kinematics of other galaxies, allowing partial determination of their rotation curves and stellar velocity dispersion.

Further reading: