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Charles King

Center for Astrophysics
Research Associate


I am an astrophysicist researching the galactic structure and dynamics of our Milky Way galaxy at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, where I am a Research Associate in the Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division and the Telescope Data Center. I have developed statistical techniques for detecting star streams in the Milky Way halo and for measuring the velocity dispersions and anisotropy of halo stars. This research reveals a significant region of discontinuity in the anisotropy parameter at galactic radius 15 < R < 25 kpc, finds that the alignment of the velocity ellipsoid is consistent with a spherically symmetric gravitational potential, and measures the mass of the Milky Way within 12 kpc. Currently, I am eagerly working on analyses of the recently released Gaia data to explore the origins of the discontinuity and better our understanding of the structure, formation, and mass of the Milky Way.