The sun's distance above the galactic plane

Roberta M. Humphreys, Jeffrey A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


We have determined the Sun's distance (Z) from the galactic plane using optical star counts in 12 Palomar Sky Survey fields, six each at the North and South galactic poles. The star counts were made in 16 square degree regions at the center of each field in the O (blue) magnitude range 15-18. All stars with O-E color greater than 1.8 mag (B- V∼1.1 mag) were selected to isolate a sample of disk population stars in this magnitude range. The total counts show significantly more stars in the six fields at the SGP indicating that the Sun is above the galactic plane as defined by neutral hydrogen. The observed ratio of N(SGP)/N(NGP) is 1.11±0.02 leading to Z=20.5±3.5 pc above the galactic midplane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2183-2188
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1995


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