Spiral galaxies are galaxies with a rotating disk of stars and gas. By studying the speed at which the disk rotates, we can use very simple physical laws to determine the mass of these galaxies. When we compare this to the amount of starlight we see, we find that most of the mass in galaxies is not in stars, but in dark matter.
This applet allows you to use spiral galaxy "rotation curves" to examine how massive spiral galaxies are, and how much dark matter they have.
The menu options to the left will lead you to the following information:
- scientific background information on the use of Rotation Curves
- launches the RotCurve applet
- information of running the applet
- APPLET PHYSICS:
- The physics behind Rotation Curves
- exercises for the user to explore the application of the Rotcurve Applet
- external Links for additional information
Scientific Programming: Chris Mihos
Java Programming: Bob Vawter, Chris Mihos
Web Design: Cameron McBride, Chris Mihos
Scientific Data: Stacy McGaugh