Denis Erkal

Dr Denis Erkal


Reader (Associate Professor) of Astrophysics
+44 (0)1483 686990
12 BC 03

About

Areas of specialism

Galactic archaeology; Near field cosmology; Galactic Dynamics

University roles and responsibilities

  • Chair of the Board of Examiners in the Physics Department
  • Academic Integrity Officer

    Research

    Research interests

    Globular cluster stream around a Milky Way-like halo
    Sagittarius in Gaia DR2
    Tuc III stream in the presence of the LMC

    Supervision

    Postgraduate research supervision

    Teaching

    Publications

    W. Cerny, J. D. Simon, T. S. Li, A. Drlica-Wagner, A. B. Pace, C. E. Martínez-Vázquez, A. H. Riley, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, S. Mau, P. S. Ferguson, D. Erkal, R. R. Munoz, C. R. Bom, J. L. Carlin, D. Carollo, Y. Choi, A. P. Ji, V. Manwadkar, D. Martínez-Delgado, A. E. Miller, N. E. D. Noël, J. D. Sakowska, D. J. Sand, G. S. Stringfellow, E. J. Tollerud, A. K. Vivas, J. A. Carballo-Bello, D. Hernandez-Lang, D. J. James, D. L. Nidever, J. L. Nilo Castellon, K. A. G. Olsen, A. Zenteno (2023)Pegasus IV: Discovery and Spectroscopic Confirmation of an Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxy in the Constellation Pegasus, In: The Astrophysical journal942(2)111 IOP

    We report the discovery of Pegasus IV, an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy found in archival data from the Dark Energy Camera processed by the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey. Pegasus IV is a compact, ultra-faint stellar system ( r 1 / 2 = 41 − 6 + 8 pc; M V = −4.25 ± 0.2 mag) located at a heliocentric distance of 90 − 6 + 4 kpc . Based on spectra of seven nonvariable member stars observed with Magellan/IMACS, we confidently resolve Pegasus IV’s velocity dispersion, measuring σ v = 3.3 − 1.1 + 1.7 km s −1 (after excluding three velocity outliers); this implies a mass-to-light ratio of M 1 / 2 / L V , 1 / 2 = 167 − 99 + 224 M ⊙ / L ⊙ for the system. From the five stars with the highest signal-to-noise spectra, we also measure a systemic metallicity of [Fe/H] = − 2.63 − 0.30 + 0.26 dex, making Pegasus IV one of the most metal-poor ultra-faint dwarfs. We tentatively resolve a nonzero metallicity dispersion for the system. These measurements provide strong evidence that Pegasus IV is a dark-matter-dominated dwarf galaxy, rather than a star cluster. We measure Pegasus IV’s proper motion using data from Gaia Early Data Release 3, finding ( μ α * , μ δ ) = (0.33 ± 0.07, −0.21 ± 0.08) mas yr −1 . When combined with our measured systemic velocity, this proper motion suggests that Pegasus IV is on an elliptical, retrograde orbit, and is currently near its orbital apocenter. Lastly, we identify three potential RR Lyrae variable stars within Pegasus IV, including one candidate member located more than 10 half-light radii away from the system’s centroid. The discovery of yet another ultra-faint dwarf galaxy strongly suggests that the census of Milky Way satellites is still incomplete, even within 100 kpc.

    Ting S. Li, Sergey E. Koposov, Denis Erkal, Alexander P. Ji, Nora Shipp, Andrew B. Pace, Tariq Hilmi, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Zhen Wan, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Lara R. Cullinane, Gary S. Da Costa, Alex Drlica-Wagner, Kohei Hattori, Sarah L. Martell, Sanjib Sharma, (2021)Broken into Pieces: ATLAS and Aliqa Uma as One Single Stream, In: The Astrophysical journal911(2)149 IOP Publishing Ltd

    We present the first spectroscopic measurements of the ATLAS and Aliqa Uma streams from the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S (5)), in combination with the photometric data from the Dark Energy Survey and astrometric data from Gaia. From the coherence of spectroscopic members in radial velocity and proper motion, we find that these two systems are extremely likely to be one stream with discontinuity in morphology and density on the sky (the "kink" feature). We refer to this entire stream as the ATLAS-Aliqa Uma stream, or the AAU stream. We perform a comprehensive exploration of the effect of baryonic substructures and find that only an encounter with the Sagittarius dwarf similar to 0.5 Gyr ago can create a feature similar to the observed "kink." In addition, we also identify two gaps in the ATLAS component associated with the broadening in the stream width (the "broadening" feature). These gaps have likely been created by small mass perturbers, such as dark matter halos, as the AAU stream is the most distant cold stream known with severe variations in both the stream surface density and the stream track on the sky. With the stream track, stream distance, and kinematic information, we determine the orbit of the AAU stream and find that it has been affected by the Large Magellanic Cloud, resulting in a misalignment between the proper motion and stream track. Together with the Orphan-Chenab Stream, AAU is the second stream pair that has been found to be a single stream separated into two segments by external perturbation.

    Denis Erkal, S. Mau, A.K Hughes, D.J James, Noelia Noel, W. Cerny, A.B Pace, Y. Choi, A. Drlica-Wagner, L. Santana-Silver, A.H Riley, S. Stringfellow, M. Adamow, J.L Carlin, R.A Gruendal, D. Hernandez-Lang, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, N. Kuropatkin, D.L Nidever, E.H Neilsen, K.A.G Olsen, T.S Li, C.E Martinez-Vasquez, D.J Sand, E. Morganson, E.J Tollerud, D.L Tucker, B. Yanny, A. Zenteno, S. Allam, W.A Barkhouse, K. Bechtol, E.F Bell, P. Balaji, D. Crnojevic, J. Esteves, P.S Ferguson, C. Gallart, P. Jethwa, L.C Johnson, K. Kuehn, S. Majewski, Y-Y. Mao, P. Massana, M. McNanna, A. Monachesi, E.O Nadler, A. Palmese, F. Paz-Chinchon, A. Pieres, J. Sanchez, N. Shipp, J.D Simon, M. Soares-Santos, K. Tavangar, R.P van der Marel, A.K Vivas, A.R Walker, R.H Wechsler (2020)Two Ultra-faint Milky Way Stellar Systems Discovered in Early Data from the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey, In: Astrophysical Journal890(2)136 American Astronomical Society

    We report the discovery of two ultra-faint stellar systems found in early data from the DECam Local Volume Exploration survey (DELVE). The rst system, Centaurus I (DELVE J1238

    Alexander P. Ji, Sergey E. Koposov, Ting S Li, DENIS ERKAL, Andrew B. Pace, Joshua D. Simon, Vasily Belokurov, Lara Cullinane, Gary S. Da Costa, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Nora Shipp, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Daniel B. Zucker, Terese T. Hansen, Joss Bland-Hawthorn (2021)Kinematics of Antlia 2 and Crater 2 from The Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5), In: The Astrophysical Journal IOP Publishing

    We present new spectroscopic observations of the diffuse Milky Way satellite galaxies Antlia 2 and Crater 2, taken as part of the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5). The new observations approximately double the number of confirmed member stars in each galaxy and more than double the spatial extent of spectroscopic observations in Antlia 2. A full kinematic analysis, including Gaia EDR3 proper motions, detects a clear velocity gradient in Antlia 2 and a tentative velocity gradient in Crater 2. The velocity gradient magnitudes and directions are consistent with particle stream simulations of tidal disruption. Furthermore, the orbit and kinematics of Antlia 2 require a model that includes the reflex motion of the Milky Way induced by the Large Magellanic Cloud. We also find that Antlia 2's metallicity was previously overestimated, so it lies on the empirical luminosity-metallicity relation and is likely only now experiencing substantial stellar mass loss. This low stellar mass loss contrasts with current dynamical models of Antlia 2's size and velocity dispersion, which require it to have lost more than 90% of its stars to tides. Overall, the new kinematic measurements support a tidal disruption scenario for the origin of these large and extended dwarf spheroidal galaxies.

    Xiaowei Ou, Anirudh Chiti, Nora Shipp, Joshua D. Simon, Marla Geha, Anna Frebel, Mohammad K. Mardini, Denis Erkal, Lina Necib (2024)Signatures of tidal disruption of the Hercules ultra-faint dwarf galaxy, In: The Astrophysical journal iOP Publishing

    The Hercules ultra-faint dwarf galaxy (UFD) has long been hypothesized to be tidally disrupting, yet no conclusive evidence has been found for tidal disruption owing partly to difficulties in identifying Hercules member stars. In this work, we present a homogeneous re-analysis of new and existing observations of Hercules, including the detection of a new potential member star located ∼1 • (∼ 1.7 kpc) west of the center of the system. In addition to measuring the line-of-sight velocity gradient, we compare predictions from dynamical models of stream formation to these observations. We report an updated velocity dispersion measurement based on 28 stars, 1.9 +0.6 −0.6 km s −1 , which is significantly lower than previous measurements. We find that the line-of-sight velocity gradient is 1.8 +1.8 −1.8 km s −1 kpc −1 along the major axis of Hercules, consistent with zero within 1 σ. Our dynamical models of stream formation, on the other hand, can reproduce the morphology of the Hercules UFD, specifically the misalignment between the elongation and the orbital motion direction. Additionally, these dynamical models indicate that any radial velocity gradient from tidal disruption would be too small, 0.00 +0.97 −0.91 km s −1 kpc −1 , to be detectable with current sample sizes. Combined with our analysis of the tidal radius evolution of the system as a function of its orbital phase, we argue that it is likely that Hercules is indeed currently undergoing tidal disruption in its extended stellar halo with a line-of-sight velocity gradient too small to be detected with current observational datasets.

    Stars slingshotted by the supermassive black hole at the Galactic centre will escape the Milky Way so quickly that their trajectories will be almost straight lines. Previous works have shown how these `hypervelocity stars' are subsequently deflected by the gravitational field of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), but have neglected to account for the reflex motion of the Milky Way in response to the fly by of the LMC. A consequence of this motion is that the hypervelocity stars we see on the outskirts of the Milky Way today were ejected from where the Milky Way centre was hundreds of millions of years ago. This change in perspective causes large apparent deflections in the trajectories of the hypervelocity stars, which are of the same order as the deflections caused by the gravitational force of the Milky Way and LMC. We quantify these deflections by simulating the production of hypervelocity stars in an isolated Milky Way (with a spherical or flattened dark matter halo), in a fixed-in-place Milky Way with a passing LMC, and in a Milky Way which responds to the passage of the LMC. The proper motion precision necessary to measure these deflections will be possible with the combination of Gaia with the proposed GaiaNIR successor mission, and these measurements will unlock the hypervelocity stars as probes of the shape of the Milky Way, the mass of the LMC, and of the dance of these two galaxies.

    N Shipp, A Drlica-Wagner, E Balbinot, P Ferguson, D Erkal, T. S Li, K Bechtol, V Belokurov, B Buncher, D Carollo, M. Carrasco Kind, K Kuehn, J. L Marshall, A. B Pace, E. S Rykoff, I Sevilla-Noarbe, E Sheldon, L Strigari, A. K Vivas, B Yanny, A Zenteno, T. M. C Abbott, F. B Abdalla, S Allam, S Avila, E Bertin, D Brooks, D. L Burke, J Carretero, F. J Castander, R Cawthon, M Crocce, C. E Cunha, C. B D'Andrea, L. N da Costa, C Davis, J. De Vicente, S Desai, H. T Diehl, P Doel, A. E Evrard, B Flaugher, P Fosalba, J Frieman, J García-Bellido, E Gaztanaga, D. W Gerdes, D Gruen, R. A Gruendl, J Gschwend, G Gutierrez, W Hartley, K Honscheid, B Hoyle, D. J James, M. D Johnson, E Krause, N Kuropatkin, O Lahav, H Lin, M. A. G Maia, M March, P Martini, F Menanteau, C. J Miller, R Miquel, R. C Nichol, A. A Plazas, A. K Romer, M Sako, E Sanchez, B Santiago, V Scarpine, R Schindler, M Schubnell, M Smith, R. C Smith, F Sobreira, E Suchyta, M. E. C Swanson, G Tarle, D Thomas, D. L Tucker, A. R Walker, R. H Wechsler, (2018)Stellar Streams Discovered in the Dark Energy Survey, In: The Astrophysical journal862(2) The American Astronomical Society

    We perform a search for stellar streams around the Milky Way using the first 3 yr of multiband optical imaging data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We use DES data covering ∼5000 deg2 to a depth of g > 23.5 with a relative photometric calibration uncertainty of

    Michele De Leo, Justin I Read, Noelia E. D Noel, Denis Erkal, Pol Massana, Ricardo Carrera Surviving the Waves: evidence for a Dark Matter cusp in the tidally disrupting Small Magellanic Cloud

    We use spectroscopic data for ${\sim}6,000$ Red Giant Branch (RGB) stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), together with proper motion data from \textit{Gaia} Early Data Release 3 (EDR3), to build a mass model of the SMC. We test our Jeans mass modelling method (\textsc{Binulator}+\textsc{GravSphere}) on mock data for an SMC-like dwarf undergoing severe tidal disruption, showing that we are able to successfully remove tidally unbound interlopers, recovering the Dark Matter density and stellar velocity anisotropy profiles within our 95\% confidence intervals. We then apply our method to real SMC data, finding that the stars of the cleaned sample are isotropic at all radii (at 95\% confidence), and that the inner Dark Matter density profile is dense, $\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,{\rm pc}) = 2.81_{-1.07}^{+0.72}\times 10^8 M_{\odot} \rm kpc^{-3} $, consistent with a $\Lambda$ Cold Dark Matter ($\Lambda$CDM) cusp at least down to 400\,pc from the SMC's centre. Our model gives a new estimate of the SMC's total mass within 3\,kpc ($M_{\rm tot} \leq 3\,{\rm kpc})$ of $2.34\pm0.46 \times 10^9 M_{\odot}$. We also derive an astrophysical \textquote{$J$-factor} of $19.22\pm0.14$\, GeV$^2$\,cm$^{-5}$ and a \textquote{$D$-factor} of $18.80\pm0.03$\, GeV$^2$\,cm$^{-5}$, making the SMC a promising target for Dark Matter annihilation and decay searches. Finally, we combine our findings with literature measurements to test models in which Dark Matter is \textquote{heated up} by baryonic effects. We find good qualitative agreement with the Di Cintio et al. 2014 model but we deviate from the Lazar et al. 2020 model at high $M_*/M_{200} > 10^{-2}$. We provide a new, analytic, density profile that reproduces Dark Matter heating behaviour over the range $10^{-5} < M_*/M_{200} < 10^{-1}$.

    Shoko Jin, Scott C. Trager, Gavin B. Dalton, J. Alfonso L. Aguerri, J. E. Drew, Jesús Falcón-Barroso, Boris T. Gänsicke, Vanessa Hill, Angela Iovino, Matthew M. Pieri, Bianca M. Poggianti, D. J. B. Smith, Antonella Vallenari, Don Carlos Abrams, David S. Aguado, Teresa Antoja, Alfonso Aragón-Salamanca, Denis Erkal, Ulrike Kuchner (2023)The wide-field, multiplexed, spectroscopic facility WEAVE: Survey design, overview, and simulated implementation, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societystad557 Oxford University Press

    WEAVE, the new wide-field, massively multiplexed spectroscopic survey facility for the William Herschel Telescope, will see first light in late 2022. WEAVE comprises a new 2-degree field-of-view prime-focus corrector system, a nearly 1000-multiplex fibre positioner, 20 individually deployable 'mini' integral field units (IFUs), and a single large IFU. These fibre systems feed a dual-beam spectrograph covering the wavelength range 366−959\,nm at R∼5000, or two shorter ranges at R∼20000. After summarising the design and implementation of WEAVE and its data systems, we present the organisation, science drivers and design of a five- to seven-year programme of eight individual surveys to: (i) study our Galaxy's origins by completing Gaia's phase-space information, providing metallicities to its limiting magnitude for ∼3 million stars and detailed abundances for ∼1.5 million brighter field and open-cluster stars; (ii) survey ∼0.4 million Galactic-plane OBA stars, young stellar objects and nearby gas to understand the evolution of young stars and their environments; (iii) perform an extensive spectral survey of white dwarfs; (iv) survey ∼400 neutral-hydrogen-selected galaxies with the IFUs; (v) study properties and kinematics of stellar populations and ionised gas in z1 million spectra of LOFAR-selected radio sources; (viii) trace structures using intergalactic/circumgalactic gas at z>2. Finally, we describe the WEAVE Operational Rehearsals using the WEAVE Simulator.

    Christopher Eckner, Francesca Calore, Denis Erkal, Sophia Lilleengen, Michael S. Petersen (2023)How do the dynamics of the Milky Way -Large Magellanic Cloud system affect gamma-ray constraints on particle dark matter?, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society518(3)pp. 4138-4158 Oxford University Press

    Previous studies on astrophysical dark matter (DM) constraints have all assumed that the Milky Way's (MW) DM halo can be modelled in isolation. However, recent work suggests that the MW's largest dwarf satellite, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), has a mass of 10-20% that of the MW and is currently merging with our Galaxy. As a result, the DM haloes of the MW and LMC are expected to be strongly deformed. We here address and quantify the impact of the dynamical response caused by the passage of the LMC through the MW on the prospects for indirect DM searches. Utilising a set of state-of-the-art numerical simulations of the evolution of the MW-LMC system, we derive the DM distribution in both galaxies at the present time based on the Basis Function Expansion formalism. Consequently, we build J-factor all-sky maps of the MW-LMC system to study the impact of the LMC passage on gamma-ray indirect searches for thermally produced DM annihilating in the outer MW halo as well as within the LMC halo standalone. We conduct a detailed analysis of 12 years of Fermi-LAT data that incorporates various large-scale gamma-ray emission components and we quantify the systematic uncertainty associated with the imperfect knowledge of the astrophysical gamma-ray sources. We find that the dynamical response caused by the LMC passage can alter the constraints on the velocity-averaged annihilation cross section for weak scale particle DM at a level comparable to the existing observational uncertainty of the MW halo's density profile and total mass.

    Alexandra L. Gregory, Michelle L. M. Collins, Denis Erkal, Erik Tollerud, Maxime Delorme, Lewis Hill, David J. Sand, Jay Strader, Beth Willman (2020)Uncovering the Orbit of the Hercules Dwarf Galaxy, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP)

    We present new chemo{kinematics of the Hercules dwarf galaxy based on Keck II{ DEIMOS spectroscopy. Our 21 conrmed members, including 9 newly con- rmed members, have a systemic velocity of vHerc = 46:4 1:3 kms

    W. Cerny, A. B. Pace, A. Drlica-Wagner, P. S. Ferguson, S. Mau, M. Adamów, J. L. Carlin, Y. Choi, D. Erkal, L. C. Johnson, T. S. Li, C. E. Martínez-Vázquez, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, D. L. Nidever, K. G. Olsen, A. Pieres, E. J. Tollerud, J. D. Simon, A. K. Vivas, D. J. James, N. Kuropatkin, S. Majewski, D. Martínez-Delgado, P. Massana, A. E. Miller, E. H. Neilsen, N. D. Noël, A. H. Riley, D. J. Sand, L. Santana-Silva, G. S. Stringfellow, D. L. Tucker (2021)Discovery of an Ultra-faint Stellar System near the Magellanic Clouds with the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey, In: The Astrophysical journal910(1)18 IOP Publishing

    We report the discovery of a new ultra-faint stellar system found near the Magellanic Clouds in the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey. This new system, DELVE J0155-6815 (DELVE 2), is located at a heliocentric distance of D⊙ = 71 ± 4 kpc, which places it at a 3D physical separation of 12 ± 3 kpc from the center of the Small Magellanic Cloud and ${28}_{-3}^{+4}\,\mathrm{kpc}$ from the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). DELVE 2 is identified as a resolved overdensity of old (τ > 13.3 Gyr) and metal-poor ($[\mathrm{Fe}/{\rm{H}}]=-{2.0}_{-0.5}^{+0.2}$ dex) stars with a projected half-light radius of ${r}_{1/2}={21}_{-3}^{+4}\,\mathrm{pc}$ and an absolute magnitude of ${M}_{V}=-{2.1}_{-0.5}^{+0.4}\,\mathrm{mag}$. The size and luminosity of DELVE 2 are consistent with both the population of recently discovered ultra-faint globular clusters and the smallest ultra-faint dwarf galaxies. However, its photometrically derived age and metallicity would place it among the oldest and most metal-poor globular clusters in the Magellanic system. In the absence of spectroscopic measurements of the system's metallicity dispersion and internal kinematics, we are unable to conclusively classify this system at this time. DELVE 2 is detected in Gaia DR2 with a clear proper-motion signal, with multiple blue horizontal-branch stars near the centroid of the system with proper motions consistent with the systemic mean. We measure the system proper motion to be $({\mu }_{\alpha }\cos \delta ,{\mu }_{\delta })$ = $({1.02}_{-0.25}^{+0.24},-{0.85}_{-0.19}^{+0.18})$ mas yr-1. We compare the spatial position and proper motion of DELVE 2 with simulations of the accreted satellite population of the LMC and find that it is very likely to be associated with the LMC.

    David Martinez-Delgado, Andrew P. Cooper, Javier Roman, Annalisa Pillepich, Denis Erkal, Sarah Pearson, John Moustakas, Chervin F. P. Laporte, Seppo Laine, Mohammad Akhlaghi, Dustin Lang, Dmitry Makarov, Alejandro S. Borlaff, Giuseppe Donatiello, William J. Pearson, Juan Miro-Carretero, Jean-Charles Cuillandre, Helena Dominguez, Santi Roca-Fabrega, Carlos S. Frenk, Judy Schmidt, Maria A. Gomez-Flechoso, Rafael Guzman, Noam I. Libeskind, Arjun Dey, Benjamin A. Weaver, David Schlegel, Adam D. Myers, Frank G. Valdes (2023)Hidden depths in the local Universe: The Stellar Stream Legacy Survey, In: Astronomy and astrophysics (Berlin)671141 Edp Sciences S A

    Context. Mergers and tidal interactions between massive galaxies and their dwarf satellites are a fundamental prediction of the Lambda-cold dark matter cosmology. These events are thought to provide important observational diagnostics of non-linear structure formation. Stellar streams in the Milky Way and Andromeda are spectacular evidence for ongoing satellite disruption. However, constructing a statistically meaningful sample of tidal streams beyond the Local Group has proven a daunting observational challenge, and the full potential for deepening our understanding of galaxy assembly using stellar streams has yet to be realised. Aims. Here we introduce the Stellar Stream Legacy Survey, a systematic imaging survey of tidal features associated with dwarf galaxy accretion around a sample of similar to 3100 nearby galaxies within z similar to 0:02, including about 940 Milky Way analogues. Methods. Our survey exploits public deep imaging data from the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys, which reach surface brightness as faint as similar to 29 mag arcsec 2 in the r band. As a proof of concept of our survey, we report the detection and broad-band photometry of 24 new stellar streams in the local Universe. Results. We discuss how these observations can yield new constraints on galaxy formation theory through comparison to mock observations from cosmological galaxy simulations. These tests will probe the present-day mass assembly rate of galaxies, the stellar populations and orbits of satellites, the growth of stellar halos, and the resilience of stellar disks to satellite bombardment.

    Ting S. Li, Alexander P. Ji, Andrew B. Pace, Denis Erkal, Sergey E. Koposov, Nora Shipp, Gary S. Da Costa, Lara R. Cullinane, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Daniel B. Zucker, Peter S. Ferguson, Sarah L. Martell, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Eduardo Balbinot, Kiyan Tavangar, Alex Drlica-Wagner, Gayandhi M. De Silva, Joshua D. Simon (2022)S (5): The Orbital and Chemical Properties of One Dozen Stellar Streams, In: The Astrophysical journal928(1)30 IOP Publishing Ltd

    We report the kinematic, orbital, and chemical properties of 12 stellar streams with no evident progenitors using line-of-sight velocities and metallicities from the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S (5)), proper motions from Gaia EDR3, and distances derived from distance tracers or the literature. This data set provides the largest homogeneously analyzed set of streams with full 6D kinematics and metallicities. All streams have heliocentric distances between similar to 10 and 50 kpc. The velocity and metallicity dispersions show that half of the stream progenitors were disrupted dwarf galaxies (DGs), while the other half originated from disrupted globular clusters (GCs), hereafter referred to as DG and GC streams. Based on the mean metallicities of the streams and the mass-metallicity relation, the luminosities of the progenitors of the DG streams range between those of Carina and Ursa Major I (-9.5 less than or similar to M ( V ) less than or similar to -5.5). Four of the six GC streams have mean metallicities of [Fe/H] < -2, more metal poor than typical Milky Way (MW) GCs at similar distances. Interestingly, the 300S and Jet GC streams are the only streams on retrograde orbits in our dozen-stream sample. Finally, we compare the orbital properties of the streams with known DGs and GCs in the MW, finding several possible associations. Some streams appear to have been accreted with the recently discovered Gaia-Enceladus-Sausage system, and others suggest that GCs were formed in and accreted together with the progenitors of DG streams whose stellar masses are similar to those of Draco to Carina (similar to 10(5)-10(6) M (circle dot)).

    Nilanjan Banik, Jo Bovy, Gianfranco Bertone, Denis Erkal, T. J. L. de Boer (2021)Evidence of a population of dark subhaloes from Gaia and Pan-STARRS observations of the GD-1 stream, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society502(2)pp. 2364-2380 Oxford Univ Press

    New data from the Gaia satellite, when combined with accurate photometry from the Pan-STARRS survey, allow us to accurately estimate the properties of the GD-1 stream. Here, we analyse the stellar density variations in the GD-1 stream and show that they cannot be due to known baryonic structures such as giant molecular clouds, globular clusters, or the Milky Way's bar or spiral arms. A joint analysis of the GD-1 and Pal 5 streams instead requires a population of dark substructures with masses approximate to 10(7)-10(9) M-circle dot. We infer a total abundance of dark subhaloes normalized to standard cold dark matter n(sub)/n(sub,CDM) = 0.4(-0.2)(+0.3) (68 per cent), which corresponds to a mass fraction contained in the subhaloes f(sub) = 0.14-(+0.11)(0.07) per cent, compatible with the predictions of hydrodynamical simulation of cold dark matter with baryons.

    Nora Shipp, Denis Erkal, Alex Drlica-Wagner, Ting S. Li, Andrew B. Pace, Sergey E. Koposov, Lara R. Cullinane, Gary S. Da Costa, Alexander P. Ji, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Zhen Wan, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Peter S. Ferguson, Sophia Lilleengen (2021)Measuring the Mass of the Large Magellanic Cloud with Stellar Streams Observed by S-5, In: The Astrophysical journal923(2)149 IOP Publishing Ltd

    Stellar streams are excellent probes of the underlying gravitational potential in which they evolve. In this work, we fit dynamical models to five streams in the Southern Galactic hemisphere, combining observations from the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S-5), Gaia EDR3, and the Dark Energy Survey, to measure the mass of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). With an ensemble of streams, we find a mass of the LMC ranging from similar to 14-19 x 10(10) M-circle dot, probed over a range of closest approach times and distances. With the most constraining stream (Orphan-Chenab), we measure an LMC mass of 18.8(-4.0)(+3.5) x 10(10) M-circle dot, probed at a closest approach time of 310 Myr and a closest approach distance of 25.4 kpc. This mass is compatible with previous measurements, showing that a consistent picture is emerging of the LMC's influence on structures in the Milky Way. Using this sample of streams, we find that the LMC's effect depends on the relative orientation of the stream and LMC at their point of closest approach. To better understand this, we present a simple model based on the impulse approximation and we show that the LMC's effect depends both on the magnitude of the velocity kick imparted to the stream and the direction of this kick.

    Alexander P. Ji, Ting S. Li, Terese T. Hansen, Andrew R. Casey, Sergey E. Koposov, Andrew B. Pace, Dougal Mackey, Geraint F. Lewis, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Lara R. Cullinane, Gary. S. Da Costa, Kohei Hattori, Sarah L. Martell, Kyler Kuehn, Denis Erkal, Nora Shipp, Zhen Wan, Daniel B. Zucker (2020)The Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5): Chemical Abundances of Seven Stellar Streams, In: The Astronomical journal160(4)181 The American Astronomical Society

    We present high-resolution Magellan/MIKE spectroscopy of 42 red giant stars in seven stellar streams confirmed by the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5): ATLAS, Aliqa Uma, Chenab, Elqui, Indus, Jhelum, and Phoenix. Abundances of 30 elements have been derived from over 10,000 individual line measurements or upper limits using photometric stellar parameters and a standard LTE analysis. This is currently the most extensive set of element abundances for stars in stellar streams. Three streams (ATLAS, Aliqa Uma, and Phoenix) are disrupted metal-poor globular clusters, although only weak evidence is seen for the light-element anticorrelations commonly observed in globular clusters. Four streams (Chenab, Elqui, Indus, and Jhelum) are disrupted dwarf galaxies, and their stars display abundance signatures that suggest progenitors with stellar masses ranging from 106 to 107 M . Extensive description is provided for the analysis methods, including the derivation of a new method for including the effect of stellar parameter correlations on each star's abundance and uncertainty. This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.

    Camila Navarrete, David S. Aguado, Vasily Belokurov, Denis Erkal, Alis Deason, Lara Cullinane, Julio Carballo-Bello (2023)The 3D kinematics of stellar substructures in the periphery of the Large Magellanic Cloud, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society523(3)pp. 4720-4738 Oxford Univ Press

    We report the 3D kinematics of 27 Mira-like stars in the northern, eastern, and southern periphery of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), based on Gaia proper motions and a dedicated spectroscopic follow-up. Low-resolution spectra were obtained for more than 40 Mira-like candidates, selected to trace known substructures in the LMC periphery. Radial velocities and stellar parameters were derived for all stars. Gaia data release 3 astrometry and photometry were used to discard outliers, derive periods for those stars with available light curves, and determine their photometric chemical types. The 3D motion of the stars in the reference frame of the LMC revealed that most of the stars, in all directions, have velocities consistent with being part of the LMC disc population, out of equilibrium in the radial and vertical directions. A suite of numerical simulations was used to constrain the most likely past interaction history between the Clouds given the phase-space distribution of our targets. Model realizations in which the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) had three pericentric passages around the LMC best resemble the observations. The interaction history of those model realizations has a recent SMC pericentric passage (& SIM;320 Myr ago), preceded by an SMC crossing of the LMC disc at & SIM;0.97 Gyr ago, having a radial crossing distance of only & SIM;4.5 kpc. The previous disc crossing of the SMC was found to occur at & SIM;1.78 Gyr ago, with a similar radial crossing distance of & SIM;5.6 kpc.

    Zhen Wan, Geraint F. Lewis, Ting S. Li, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Sarah L. Martell, Daniel B. Zucker, Jeremy R. Mould, Denis Erkal, Andrew B. Pace, Dougal Mackey, Alexander P. Ji, Sergey E. Koposov, Kyler Kuehn, Nora Shipp, Eduardo Balbinot, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Andrew R. Casey, Gary S. Da Costa, Prajwal Kafle, Sanjib Sharma, Gayandhi M. De Silva (2020)The tidal remnant of an unusually metal-poor globular cluster, In: Nature (London)583(7818)768pp. 768-770 NATURE PORTFOLIO

    Globular clusters are some of the oldest bound stellar structures observed in the Universe(1). They are ubiquitous in large galaxies and are believed to trace intense star-formation events and the hierarchical build-up of structure(2,3). Observations of globular clusters in the Milky Way, and a wide variety of other galaxies, have found evidence for a'metallicity floor', whereby no globular clusters are found with chemical (metal) abundances below approximately 0.3 to 0.4 per cent of that of the Sun(4-6). The existence of this metallicity floor may reflect a minimum mass and a maximum redshift for surviving globular clusters to form-both critical components for understanding the build-up of mass in the Universe(7). Here we report measurements from the Southern Stellar Streams Spectroscopic Survey of the spatially thin, dynamically cold Phoenix stellar stream in the halo of the Milky Way. The properties of the Phoenix stream are consistent with it being the tidally disrupted remains of a globular cluster. However, its metal abundance ([Fe/H] = -2.7) is substantially below the empirical metallicity floor. The Phoenix stream thus represents the debris of the most metal-poor globular clusters discovered so far, and its progenitor is distinct from the present-day globular cluster population in the local Universe. Its existence implies that globular clusters below the metallicity floor have probably existed, but were destroyed during Galactic evolution. The Phoenix stream in the Milky Way halo is shown to be a tidally disrupted remnant of an unusually metal-poor globular cluster, which was possibly destroyed during Galactic evolution.

    Emily C. Cunningham, Nicolas Garavito-Camargo, Alis J. Deason, Kathryn V. Johnston, Denis Erkal, Chervin F. P. Laporte, Gurtina Besla, Rodrigo Luger, Robyn E. Sanderson (2020)Quantifying the Stellar Halo's Response to the LMC's Infall with Spherical Harmonics, In: The Astrophysical journal898(1)4 The American Astronomical Society

    The vast majority of the mass in the Milky Way (MW) is in dark matter (DM); we therefore cannot directly observe the MW mass distribution and have to use tracer populations in order to infer properties of the MW DM halo. However, MW halo tracers do not only feel the gravitational influence of the MW itself. Tracers can also be affected by MW satellites; Garavito-Camargo et al. (2109) demonstrate that the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) induces a density wake in the MW DM, resulting in large-scale kinematic patterns in the MW stellar halo. In this work, we use spherical harmonic expansion (SHE) of the velocity fields of simulated stellar halos in an effort to disentangle perturbations on large scales (e.g., due to the LMC itself, as well as the LMC-induced DM wake) and small scales (due to substructure). Using the Garavito-Camargo et al. simulations, we demonstrate how the different terms in the SHE of the stellar velocity field reflect the different wake components and show that these signatures are a strong function of the LMC mass. An exploration of model halos built from accreted dwarfs suggests that stellar debris from massive, recent accretion events can produce much more power in the velocity angular power spectra than the perturbation from the LMC-induced wake. We therefore consider two models for the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream-the most recent, massive accretion event in the MW apart from the LMC-and find that the angular power on large scales is generally dominated by the LMC-induced wake, even when Sgr is included. We conclude that SHE of the MW stellar halo velocity field may therefore be a useful tool in quantifying the response of the MW DM halo to the LMC's infall.

    Sergey E. Koposov, Denis Erkal, Ting S. Li, Gary S. Da Costa, Lara R. Cullinane, Alexander P. Ji, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Andrew B. Pace, Nora Shipp, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Sophia Lilleengen, Sarah L. Martell (2023)S (5) : Probing the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds potentials with the 6D map of the Orphan-Chenab stream, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society521(4)pp. 4936-4962 Oxford Univ Press

    We present a 6D map of the Orphan-Chenab (OC) stream by combining the data from Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S-5) and Gaia. We reconstruct the proper motion, radial velocity, distance, on-sky track, and stellar density along the stream with spline models. The stream has a total luminosity of M-V = -8.2 and metallicity of [Fe/H] = -1.9, similar to classical Milky Way (MW) satellites like Draco. The stream shows drastic changes in its physical width varying from 200 pc to 1 kpc, but a constant line-of-sight velocity dispersion of 5 km s(-1). Despite the large apparent variation in the stellar number density along the stream, the flow rate of stars along the stream is remarkably constant. We model the 6D stream track by a Lagrange-point stripping method with a flexible MW potential in the presence of a moving extended Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This allows us to constrain the mass profile of the MW within the distance range 15.6 < r < 55.5 kpc, with the best measured enclosed mass of (2.85 +/- 0.1) x10(11) M-circle dot within 32.4 kpc. Our stream measurements are highly sensitive to the LMC mass profile with the most precise measurement of its enclosed mass made at 32.8 kpc, (7.02 +/- 0.9) x10(10) M-circle dot. We also detect that the LMC dark matter halo extends to at least 53 kpc. The fitting of the OC stream allows us to constrain the past LMC trajectory and the degree of dynamical friction it experienced. We demonstrate that the stars in the OC stream show large energy and angular momentum spreads caused by LMC perturbation.

    David Martinez-Delgado, Javier Roman, Denis Erkal, Mischa Schirmer, Santi Roca-Fabrega, Seppo Laine, Giuseppe Donatiello, Manuel Jimenez, David Malin, Julio A. Carballo-Bello (2021)A feather on the hat: tracing the giant stellar stream around the Sombrero galaxy, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society506(4)5030pp. 5030-5038 Oxford Univ Press

    Recent evidence of extremely metal-rich stars found in the Sombrero galaxy (M104) halo suggests that this galaxy has undergone a recent major merger with a relatively massive galaxy. In this paper, we present wide-field deep images of the M104 outskirts obtained with a 18-cm amateur telescope with the purpose of detecting any coherent tidal features from this possible major merger. Our new data, together with a model of the M104 inner halo and scattered light from stars around the field, allow us to trace for the first time the full path of the stream on both sides of the disc of the galaxy. We fully characterize the ring-like tidal structure and we confirm that this is the only observable coherent substructure in the inner halo region. This result is in agreement with the hypothesis that M104 was created by a wet major merger more than 3.5 Gyr ago that heated up the stellar population, blurring all old substructure. We generated a set of numerical models that reproduce the formation of the observed tidal structure. Our best-fitting model suggests the formation of this stream in the last 3 Gyr is independent of the wet major merger that created the M104 system. Therefore, the formation of the tidal stream can put a constraint on the time when the major merger occurred.

    Denis Erkal, Alis J. Deason, Vasily Belokurov, Xiang-Xiang Xue, Sergey E. Koposov, Sarah A. Bird, Chao Liu, Iulia T. Simion, Chengqun Yang, Lan Zhang, Gang Zhao (2021)Detection of the LMC-induced sloshing of the Galactic halo, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society506(2)2677pp. 2677-2684 Oxford Univ Press

    A wealth of recent studies have shown that the LMC is likely massive, with a halo mass >10(11)M(circle dot). One consequence of having such a nearby and massive neighbour is that the inner Milky Way is expected to be accelerated with respect to our Galaxy's outskirts (beyond similar to 30 kpc). In this work, we compile a sample of similar to 500 stars with radial velocities in the distant stellar halo, r(GC) > 50 kpc, to test this hypothesis. These stars span a large fraction of the sky and thus give a global view of the stellar halo. We find that stars in the Southern hemisphere are on average blueshifted, while stars in the North are redshifted, consistent with the expected, mostly downwards acceleration of the inner halo due to the LMC. We compare these results with simulations and find the signal is consistent with the infall of a 1.5 x 10(11)M(circle dot) LMC. We cross-match our stellar sample with Gaia DR2 and find that the mean proper motions are not yet precise enough to discern the LMC's effect. Our results show that the Milky Way is significantly out of equilibrium and that the LMC has a substantial effect on our Galaxy.

    K. Tavangar, P. Ferguson, N. Shipp, A. Drlica-Wagner, S. Koposov, D. Erkal, E. Balbinot, J. Garcia-Bellido, K. Kuehn, G. F. Lewis, T. S. Li, S. Mau, A. B. Pace, A. H. Riley, T. M. C. Abbott, M. Aguena, S. Allam, F. Andrade-Oliveira, J. Annis, E. Bertin, D. Brooks, D. L. Burke, A. Carnero Rosell, M. Carrasco Kind, J. Carretero, M. Constanzi, L. N. da Costa, M. E. S. Pereira, J. De Vicente, H. T. Diehl, S. Everett, Ferrero, B. Flaugher, J. Frieman, E. Gaztanaga, D. W. Gerdes, D. Gruen, R. A. Gruendl, J. Gschwend, G. Gutierrez, S. R. Hinton, D. L. Hollowood, K. Honscheid, D. J. James, N. Kuropatkin, M. A. G. Maia, J. L. Marshall, F. Menanteau, R. Miquel, R. Morgan, R. L. C. Ogando, A. Palmese, F. Paz-Chinchon, A. Pieres, A. A. Plazas Malagon, M. Rodriguez-Monroy, E. Sanchez, Scarpine, S. Serrano, Sevilla-Noarbe, M. Smith, E. Suchyta, M. E. C. Swanson, G. Tarle, C. To, T. N. Varga, A. R. Walker (2022)From the Fire: A Deeper Look at the Phoenix Stream, In: The Astrophysical journal925(2)118 IOP Publishing Ltd

    We use 6 yr of data from the Dark Energy Survey to perform a detailed photometric characterization of the Phoenix stellar stream, a 15 degrees long, thin, dynamically cold, low-metallicity stellar system in the Southern Hemisphere. We use natural splines, a nonparametric modeling technique, to simultaneously fit the stream track, width, and linear density. This updated stream model allows us to improve measurements of the heliocentric distance (17.4 +/- 0.1 (stat.) +/- 0.8 (sys.) kpc) and distance gradient (-0.009 +/- 0.006 kpc deg(-1)) of Phoenix, which corresponds to a small change of 0.13 +/- 0.09 kpc in heliocentric distance along the length of the stream. We measure linear intensity variations on degree scales, as well as deviations in the stream track on similar to 2 degrees scales, suggesting that the stream may have been disturbed during its formation and/or evolution. We recover three peaks and one gap in linear intensity along with fluctuations in the stream track. Compared to other thin streams, the Phoenix stream shows more fluctuations and, consequently, the study of Phoenix offers a unique perspective on gravitational perturbations of stellar streams. We discuss possible sources of perturbations to Phoenix, including baryonic structures in the Galaxy and dark matter subhalos.

    Terese T. Hansen, Alexander P. Ji, Gary S. Da Costa, Ting S. Li, Andrew R. Casey, Andrew B. Pace, Lara R. Cullinane, Denis Erkal, Sergey E. Koposov, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Nora Shipp, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn (2021)S (5): The Destruction of a Bright Dwarf Galaxy as Revealed by the Chemistry of the Indus Stellar Stream, In: The Astrophysical journal915(2)103 Iop Publishing Ltd

    The recently discovered Indus stellar stream exhibits a diverse chemical signature compared to what is found for most other streams due to the abundances of two outlier stars, Indus_0 and Indus_13. Indus_13 exhibits an extreme enhancement in rapid neutron-capture (r-)process elements with [Eu/Fe] = + 1.81. It thus provides direct evidence of the accreted nature of r-process-enhanced stars. In this paper we present a detailed chemical analysis of the neutron-capture elements in Indus_13, revealing the star to be slightly actinide poor. The other outlier, Indus_0, displays a globular cluster-like signature with high N, Na, and Al abundances, while the rest of the Indus stars show abundances compatible with a dwarf galaxy origin. Hence, Indus_0 provides the first chemical evidence of a fully disrupted dwarf containing a globular cluster. We use the chemical signature of the Indus stars to discuss the nature of the stream progenitor which was likely a chemically evolved system, with a mass somewhere in the range from Ursa Minor to Fornax.

    L. R. Cullinane, A. D. Mackey, G. S. Da Costa, S. E. Koposov, Belokurov, D. Erkal, A. Koch, A. Kunder, D. M. Nataf (2020)The Magellanic Edges Survey I: Description and first results, In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society497(3)3055pp. 3055-3075 Oxford Univ Press

    We present an overview of, and first science results from, the Magellanic Edges Survey (MagES), an ongoing spectroscopic survey mapping the kinematics of red clump and red giant branch stars in the highly substructured periphery of the Magellanic Clouds. In conjunction with Gaia astrometry, MagES yields a sample of similar to 7000 stars with individual 3D velocities that probes larger galactocentric radii than most previous studies. We outline our target selection, observation strategy, data reduction, and analysis procedures, and present results for two fields in the northern outskirts (>10 degrees on-sky from the centre) of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). One field, located in the vicinity of an arm-like overdensity, displays apparent signatures of perturbation away from an equilibrium disc model. This includes a large radial velocity dispersion in the LMC disc plane, and an asymmetric line-of-sight velocity distribution indicative of motions vertically out of the disc plane for some stars. The second field reveals 3D kinematics consistent with an equilibrium disc, and yields V-circ = 87.7 +/- 8.0 km s(-1) at a radial distance of similar to 10.5 kpc from the LMC centre. This leads to an enclosed mass estimate for the LMC at this radius of (1.8 +/- 0.3) x 10(10) M-circle dot.

    Zhen Wan, Anthony D. Arnold, William H Oliver, Geraint F. Lewis, Holger Baumgardt, Mark Gieles, Vincent Henault-Brunet, Thomas de Boer, Eduardo Balbinot, Gary Da Costa, Dougal Mackey, Denis Erkal, Annette Ferguson, Pete Kuzma, Elena Pancino, Jorge Peñarrubia, Nicoletta Sanna, Antonio Sollima, Roeland P. van der Marel, Laura L. Watkins (2023)Dynamics in the outskirts of four Milky Way globular clusters: it's the tides that dominate, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society519(1)pp. 192-207 Oxford University Press

    We present the results of a spectroscopic survey of the outskirts of 4 globular clusters— NGC 1261, NGC 4590, NGC 1904, and NGC 1851— covering targets within 1 degree from the cluster centres, with 2dF/AAOmega on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) and FLAMES on the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We extracted chemo-dynamical information for individual stars, from which we estimated the velocity dispersion profile and the rotation of each cluster. The observations are compared to direct N-body simulations and appropriate limepy/spes models for each cluster to interpret the results. In NGC 1851, the detected internal rotation agrees with existing literature, and NGC 1261 shows some rotation signal beyond the truncation radius, likely coming from the escaped stars. We find that the dispersion profiles for both the observations and the simulations for NGC 1261, NGC 1851, and NGC 1904 do not decrease as the limepy/spes models predict beyond the truncation radius, where the N-body simulations show that escaped stars dominate; the dispersion profile of NGC 4590 follows the predictions of the limepy/spes models, though the data do not effectively extend beyond the truncation radius. The increasing/flat dispersion profiles in the outskirts of NGC 1261, NGC 1851 and NGC 1904, are reproduced by the simulations. Hence, the increasing/flat dispersion profiles of the clusters in question can be explained by the tidal interaction with the Galaxy without introducing dark matter.

    Nora Shipp, Nondh Panithanpaisal, Lina Necib, Robyn Sanderson, Denis Erkal, Ting S. Li, Isaiah B. Santistevan, Andrew Wetzel, Lara R. Cullinane, Alexander P. Ji, Sergey E. Koposov, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Andrew B. Pace, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Emily C. Cunningham, Stacy Y. Kim, Sophia Lilleengen, Sanjib Sharma, Jorge Moreno, (2023)Streams on FIRE: Populations of Detectable Stellar Streams in the Milky Way and FIRE, In: The Astrophysical journal949(2)44 IOP Publishing Ltd

    We present the first detailed comparison of populations of dwarf galaxy stellar streams in cosmological simulations and the Milky Way. In particular, we compare streams identified around 13 Milky Way analogs in the FIRE-2 simulations to streams observed by the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S (5)). For an accurate comparison, we produce mock Dark Energy Survey (DES) observations of the FIRE streams and estimate the detectability of their tidal tails and progenitors. The number and stellar mass distributions of detectable stellar streams is consistent between observations and simulations. However, there are discrepancies in the distributions of pericenters and apocenters, with the detectable FIRE streams, on average, forming at larger pericenters (out to >110 kpc) and surviving only at larger apocenters (greater than or similar to 40 kpc) than those observed in the Milky Way. We find that the population of high-stellar-mass dwarf galaxy streams in the Milky Way is incomplete. Interestingly, a large fraction of the FIRE streams would only be detected as intact satellites in DES-like observations, since their tidal tails have too low surface brightness to be detectable. We thus predict a population of yet-undetected tidal tails around Milky Way satellites, as well as a population of fully undetected low-surface-brightness stellar streams, and estimate their detectability with the Rubin Observatory. Finally, we discuss the causes and implications of the discrepancies between the stream populations in FIRE and the Milky Way, and explore future avenues for tests of satellite disruption in cosmological simulations.

    P Jethwa, G Torrealba, C Navarrete, J.A. Carballo-Bello, Thomas de Boer, Denis Erkal, S.E. Koposov, S Duffau, D Geisler, M Catelan, V Belokurov (2018)Discovery of a thin stellar stream in the SLAMS survey, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society480(4)pp. 5342-5351 Oxford University Press

    We report the discovery of a thin stellar stream - which we name the Jet stream - cross- ing the constellations of Hydra and Pyxis. The discovery was made in data from the SLAMS survey, which comprises deep g and r imaging for a 650 square degree region above the Galactic disc performed by the CTIO Blanco + DECam. SLAMS photomet- ric catalogues have been made publicly available. The stream is approximately 0.18 degrees wide and 10 degrees long, though it is truncated by the survey footprint. Its colour-magnitude diagram is consistent with an old, metal-poor stellar population at a heliocentric distance of approximately 29 kpc. We corroborate this measurement by identifying a spatially coincident overdensity of likely blue horizontal branch stars at the same distance. There is no obvious candidate for a surviving stream progenitor.

    T S Li, S E Koposov, D B Zucker, G F Lewis, K Kuehn, J D Simpson, A P Ji, N Shipp, Y-Y Mao, M Geha, A B Pace, A D Mackey, S Allam, D L Tucker, G S Da Costa, Denis Erkal, J D Simon, J R Mould, S L Martell, Z Wan, G M De Silva, K Bechtol, E Balbinot, V Belokurov, J Bland-Hawthorn, A R Casey, L Cullinane, A Drlica-Wagner, S Sharma, A K Vivas, R H Wechsler, B Yanny (2019)The Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S⁵): Overview, Target Selection, Data Reduction, Validation, and Early Science, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP)

    We introduce the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopy Survey (S⁵), an on-going program to map the kinematics and chemistry of stellar streams in the Southern Hemisphere. The initial focus of S⁵ has been spectroscopic observations of recently identified streams within the footprint of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), with the eventual goal of surveying streams across the entire southern sky. Stellar streams are composed of material that has been tidally striped from dwarf galaxies and globular clusters and hence are excellent dynamical probes of the gravitational potential of the Milky Way, as well as providing a detailed snapshot of its accretion history. Observing with the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope’s 2-degree-Field fibre positioner and AAOmega spectrograph, and combining the precise photometry of DES DR1 with the superb proper motions from Gaia DR2, allows us to conduct an efficient spectroscopic survey to map these stellar streams. So far S⁵ has mapped 9 DES streams and 3 streams outside of DES; the former are the first spectroscopic observations of these recently discovered streams. In addition to the stream survey, we use spare fibres to undertake a Milky Way halo survey and a low-redshift galaxy survey. This paper presents an overview of the S⁵ program, describing the scientific motivation for the survey, target selection, observation strategy, data reduction and survey validation. Finally, we describe early science results on stellar streams and Milky Way halo stars drawn from the survey. Updates on S⁵, including future public data releases, can be found at http://s5collab.github.io.

    K. Hawkins, Adrian M. Price-Whelan, Allyson A. Sheffield, Aidan Z. Subrahimovic, Rachael L. Beaton, Vasily Belokurov, Denis Erkal, Sergey E. Koposov, Richard R. Lane, Chervin F.P. Laporte, Christian Nitschelm (2023)On the Hunt for the Origins of the Orphan--Chenab Stream: Detailed Element Abundances with APOGEE and Gaia, In: The Astrophysical journal IOP

    Stellar streams in the Galactic halo are useful probes of the assembly of galaxies like the Milky Way. Many tidal stellar streams that have been found in recent years are accompanied by a known progenitor globular cluster or dwarf galaxy. However, the Orphan--Chenab (OC) stream is one case where a relatively narrow stream of stars has been found without a known progenitor. In an effort to find the parent of the OC stream, we use astrometry from the early third data release of ESA's Gaia mission (Gaia EDR3) and radial velocity information from the SDSS-IV APOGEE survey to find up to 13 stars that are likely members of the OC stream. We use the APOGEE survey to study the chemical nature (for up to 13 stars) of the OC stream in the α (O, Mg, Ca, Si, Ti, S), odd-Z (Al, K, V), Fe-peak (Fe, Ni, Mn, Co, Cr) and neutron capture (Ce) elemental groups. We find that the stars that make up the OC stream are not consistent with a mono-metallic population and have a median metallicity of --1.92~dex with a dispersion of 0.28 dex. Our results also indicate that the α-elements are depleted compared to the known Milky Way populations and that its [Mg/Al] abundance ratio is not consistent with second generation stars from globular clusters. The detailed chemical pattern of these stars indicates that the OC stream progenitor is very likely to be a dwarf spheroidal galaxy with a mass of ~106 M⊙.

    J. I. Read, D. Erkal (2019)Abundance matching with the mean star formation rate: there is no missing satellites problem in the Milky Way above M200∼109M, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP)

    We introduce a novel abundance matching technique that produces a more accurate estimate of the pre-infall halo mass, M200, for satellite galaxies. To achieve this, we abundance match with the mean star formation rate, averaged over the time when a galaxy was forming stars, ⟨SFR⟩, instead of the stellar mass, M∗. Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the GAMA survey and the Bolshoi simulation, we obtain a statistical ⟨SFR⟩−M200 relation in ΛCDM. We then compare the pre-infall halo mass, Mabund200, derived from this relation with the pre-infall dynamical mass, Mdyn200, for 21 nearby dSph and dIrr galaxies, finding a good agreement between the two. As a first application, we use our new ⟨SFR⟩−M200 relation to empirically measure the cumulative mass function of a volume-complete sample of bright Milky Way satellites within 280 kpc of the Galactic centre. Comparing this with a suite of cosmological 'zoom' simulations of Milky Way-mass halos that account for subhalo depletion by the Milky Way disc, we find no missing satellites problem above M200∼09M⊙ in the Milky Way. We discuss how this empirical method can be applied to a larger sample of nearby spiral galaxies.

    N. Shipp, T. S. Li, A. B. Pace, D. Erkal, A. Drlica-Wagner, B. Yanny, V. Belokurov, W. Wester, S. E. Koposov, K. Kuehn, G. F. Lewis, J. D. Simpson, Z. Wan, D. B. Zucker, S. L. Martell, M. Y. Wang (2019)Proper Motions of Stellar Streams Discovered in the Dark Energy Survey, In: The Astrophysical Journal885(3) The American Astronomical Society

    We cross-match high-precision astrometric data from Gaia DR2 with accurate multi-band photometry from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) DR1 to confidently measure proper motions for nine stellar streams in the DES footprint: Aliqa Uma, ATLAS, Chenab, Elqui, Indus, Jhelum, Phoenix, Tucana III, and Turranburra. We determine low-confidence proper motion measurements for four additional stellar streams: Ravi, Wambelong, Willka Yaku, and Turbio. We find evidence for a misalignment between stream tracks and the systemic proper motion of streams that may suggest a systematic gravitational in uence from the Large Magellanic Cloud. These proper motions, when combined with radial velocity measurements, will allow for detailed orbit modeling which can be used to constrain properties of the LMC and its on nearby streams, as well as global properties of the Milky Way's gravitational potential.

    Sergey E Koposov, Douglas Boubert, Ting S Li, Denis Erkal, Gary S Da Costa, Daniel B Zucker, Alexander P Ji, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Jeffrey D Simpson, Nora Shipp, Zhen Wan, Vasily Belokurov, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Sarah L Martell, Thomas Nordlander, Andrew B Pace, Gayandhi M De Silva, Mei-Yu Wang (2020)Discovery of a nearby 1700 km/s star ejected from the Milky Way by Sgr A*, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society491(2)pp. 2465-2480 Oxford University Press

    We present the serendipitous discovery of the fastest main-sequence hyper-velocity star (HVS) by the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5). The star S5-HVS1 is a ∼2.35 M⊙ A-type star located at a distance of ∼9 kpc from the Sun and has a heliocentric radial velocity of 1017 ± 2.7 kms−1 without any signature of velocity variability. The current 3D velocity of the star in the Galactic frame is 1755 ± 50 kms−1⁠. When integrated backwards in time, the orbit of the star points unambiguously to the Galactic Centre, implying that S5-HVS1 was kicked away from Sgr A* with a velocity of ∼1800 kms−1 and travelled for 4.8 Myr to its current location. This is so far the only HVS confidently associated with the Galactic Centre. S5-HVS1 is also the first hyper-velocity star to provide constraints on the geometry and kinematics of the Galaxy, such as the Solar motion Vy,⊙ = 246.1 ± 5.3 kms−1 or position R0 = 8.12 ± 0.23 kpc. The ejection trajectory and transit time of S5-HVS1 coincide with the orbital plane and age of the annular disc of young stars at the Galactic Centre, and thus may be linked to its formation. With the S5-HVS1 ejection velocity being almost twice the velocity of other hyper-velocity stars previously associated with the Galactic Centre, we question whether they have been generated by the same mechanism or whether the ejection velocity distribution has been constant over time.

    D Erkal, V Belokurov, C F P Laporte, S E Koposov, T S Li, C J Grillmair, N Kallivayalil, A M Price-Whelan, N W Evans, K Hawkins, D Hendel, C Mateu, J F Navarro, A del Pino, C T Slater, S T Sohn (2019)The total mass of the Large Magellanic Cloud from its perturbation on the Orphan stream, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP)

    In a companion paper by Koposov et al., RR Lyrae from Gaia Data Release 2 are used to demonstrate that stars in the Orphan stream have velocity vectors significantly misaligned with the stream track, suggesting that it has received a large gravitational perturbation from a satellite of the Milky Way. We argue that such a mismatch cannot arise due to any realistic static Milky Way potential and then explore the perturbative effects of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We find that the LMC can produce precisely the observed motion-track mismatch and we therefore use the Orphan stream to measure the mass of the Cloud. We simultaneously fit the Milky Way and LMC potentials and infer that a total LMC mass of 1.38+0.27−0.24×1011M⊙ is required to bend the Orphan Stream, showing for the first time that the LMC has a large and measurable effect on structures orbiting the Milky Way. This has far-reaching consequences for any technique which assumes that tracers are orbiting a static Milky Way. Furthermore, we measure the Milky Way mass within 50 kpc to be 3.80+0.14−0.11×1011M⊙⁠. Finally, we use these results to predict that, due to the reflex motion of the Milky Way in response to the LMC, the outskirts of the Milky Way’s stellar halo should exhibit a bulk, upwards motion.

    Denis Erkal, T S Li, S E Koposov, V Belokurov, E Balbinot, K Bechtol, B Buncher, A Drlica-Wagner, K Kuehn, J L Marshall, C E Martínez-Vázquez, A B Pace, N Shipp, J D Simon, K M Stringer, A K Vivas, R H Wechsler, B Yanny, F B Abdalla, S Allam, J Annis, S Avila, E Bertin, D Brooks, E Buckley-Geer, D L Burke, A Carnero Rosell, M Carrasco Kind, J Carretero, C B D’Andrea, L N da Costa, C Davis, J De Vicente, P Doel, T F Eifler, A E Evrard, B Flaugher, J Frieman, J García-Bellido, E Gaztanaga, D W Gerdes, D Gruen, R A Gruendl, J Gschwend, G Gutierrez, W G Hartley, D L Hollowood, K Honscheid, D J James, E Krause, M A G Maia, M March, F Menanteau, R Miquel, R L C Ogando, A A Plazas, E Sanchez, B Santiago, V Scarpine, R Schindler, I Sevilla-Noarbe, M Smith, R C Smith, M Soares-Santos, F Sobreira, E Suchyta, M E C Swanson, G Tarle, D L Tucker, A R Walker (2018)Modelling the Tucana III stream - a close passage with the LMC, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society481(3)pp. 3148-3159 Oxford University Press (OUP)

    We present results of the first dynamical stream fits to the recently discovered Tucana III stream. These fits assume a fixed Milky Way potential and give proper motion predictions, which can be tested with the upcoming Gaia Data Release 2. These fits reveal that Tucana III is on an eccentric orbit around the Milky Way and, more interestingly, that Tucana III passed within 15 kpc of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) approximately 75 Myr ago. Given this close passage, we fit the Tucana III stream in the combined presence of the Milky Way and the LMC. We find that the predicted proper motions depend on the assumed mass of the LMC and that the LMC can induce a substantial proper motion perpendicular to the stream track. A detection of this misalignment will directly probe the extent of the LMC’s influence on our Galaxy, and has implications for nearly all methods which attempt to constraint the Milky Way potential. Such a measurement will be possible with the upcoming Gaia DR2, allowing for a measurement of the LMC’s mass.

    Vasily A Belokurov, Denis Erkal (2020)Limit on the LMC mass from a census of its satellites, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society495(3)pp. 2554-2563 Oxford University Press (OUP)

    We study the orbits of dwarf galaxies in the combined presence of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and find six dwarfs that were likely accreted with the LMC (Car 2, Car 3, Hor 1, Hyi 1, Phe 2, and Ret 2), in addition to the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), representing strong evidence of dwarf galaxy group infall. This procedure depends on the gravitational pull of the LMC, allowing us to place a lower bound on the Cloud’s mass of MLMC˃1.24×1011M⊙ if we assume that these are LMC satellites. This mass estimate is validated by applying the technique to a cosmological zoom-in simulation of a Milky Way-like galaxy with an LMC analogue where we find that while this lower bound may be overestimated, it will improve in the future with smaller observational errors. We apply this technique to dwarf galaxies lacking radial velocities and find that Eri 3 has a broad range of radial velocities for which it has a significant chance (˃0.4) of having been bound to the Cloud. We study the non-Magellanic classical satellites and find that Fornax has an appreciable probability of being an LMC satellite if the LMC is sufficiently massive (⁠∼2.5×1011M⊙⁠). In addition, we explore how the orbits of Milky Way satellites change in the presence of the LMC and find a significant change for several objects. Finally, we find that the dwarf galaxies likely to be LMC satellites are slightly smaller than Milky Way satellites at a fixed luminosity, possibly due to the different tidal environments they have experienced.

    Vasily A. Belokurov, Denis Erkal (2018)Clouds in Arms, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters Oxford University Press

    We use astrometry and broad-band photometry from Data Release 2 of the ESA’s Gaia mission to map out low surface-brightness features in the stellar density distribution around the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The LMC appears to have grown two thin and long stellar streams in its Northern and Southern regions, highly reminiscent of spiral arms. We use computer simulations of the Magellanic Clouds’ in-fall to demonstrate that these arms were likely pulled out of the LMC’s disc due to the combined influence of the SMC’s most recent fly-by and the tidal field of the Milky Way.

    Denis Erkal, Vasily A Belokurov, Daniel L Parkin (2020)Equilibrium models of the Milky Way mass are biased high by the LMC, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society498(4)pp. 5574-5580 Oxford University Press (OUP)

    Recent measurements suggest that the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) may weigh as much as 25 per cent of the Milky Way (MW). In this work, we explore how such a large satellite affects mass estimates of the MW based on equilibrium modelling of the stellar halo or other tracers. In particular, we show that if the LMC is ignored, the MW mass within 200 kpc is overestimated by as much as 50 per cent. This bias is due to the bulk motion in the outskirts of the Galaxy’s halo and can be, at least in part, accounted for with a simple modification to the equilibrium modelling. Finally, we show that the LMC has a substantial effect on the orbit Leo I which acts to increase its present-day speed relative to the MW. We estimate that accounting for a 1.5×1011M⊙ LMC would lower the inferred MW mass to ∼1012M⊙⁠.

    D. Boubert, D. Erkal, N. W. Evans, Robert Izzard (2017)Hypervelocity runaways from the Large Magellanic Cloud, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society469(2)pp. 2151-2162

    We explore the possibility that the observed population of Galactic hypervelocity stars (HVSs) originate as runaway stars from the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Pairing a binary evolution code with an N-body simulation of the interaction of the LMC with the Milky Way, we predict the spatial distribution and kinematics of an LMC runaway population. We find that runaway stars from the LMC can contribute Galactic HVSs at a rate of 3 × 10−6 yr−1. This is composed of stars at different points of stellar evolution, ranging from the main sequence to those at the tip of the asymptotic giant branch. We find that the known B-type HVSs have kinematics that are consistent with an LMC origin. There is an additional population of hypervelocity white dwarfs whose progenitors were massive runaway stars. Runaways that are even more massive will themselves go supernova, producing a remnant whose velocity will be modulated by a supernova kick. This latter scenario has some exotic consequences, such as pulsars and supernovae far from star-forming regions, and a small rate of microlensing from compact sources around the halo of the LMC.

    Michele De Leo, Ricardo Carrera, Noelia E.D Noel, Justin I. Read, Denis Erkal, Carme Gallart (2020)Revealing the tidal scars of the Small Magellanic Cloud, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society495(1)pp. 98-113 Oxford University Press (OUP)

    Due to their close proximity, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC/SMC) provide natural laboratories for understanding how galaxies form and evolve. With the goal of determining the structure and dynamical state of the SMC, we present new spectroscopic data for ∼3000 SMC red giant branch stars observed using the AAOmega spectrograph at the Anglo-Australian Telescope. We complement our data with further spectroscopic measurements from previous studies that used the same instrumental configuration as well as proper motions from the Gaia Data Release 2 catalogue. Analysing the photometric and stellar kinematic data, we find that the SMC centre of mass presents a conspicuous offset from the velocity centre of its associated H i gas, suggesting that the SMC gas is likely to be far from dynamical equilibrium. Furthermore, we find evidence that the SMC is currently undergoing tidal disruption by the LMC within 2 kpc of the centre of the SMC, and possibly all the way into the very core. This is revealed by a net outward motion of stars from the SMC centre along the direction towards the LMC and an apparent tangential anisotropy at all radii. The latter is expected if the SMC is undergoing significant tidal stripping, as we demonstrate using a suite of N-body simulations of the SMC/LMC system disrupting around the Milky Way. Our results suggest that dynamical models for the SMC that assume a steady state will need to be revisited.

    D Boubert, V Belokurov, Denis Erkal, G Iorio (2018)A Magellanic origin for the Virgo substructure, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societysty3014 Oxford University Press (

    The Milky Way halo has been mapped out in recent work using a sample of RR Lyrae stars drawn from a cross-match of Gaia with 2MASS. We investigate the significant residual in this map which we constrain to lie at Galactocentric radii 12 < R < 27 kpc and extend over 2600 deg2 of the sky. A counterpart of this structure exists in both the Catalina Real Time Survey and the sample of RR Lyrae variables identified in Pan-STARRS, demonstrating that this structure is not caused by the spatial inhomogeneity of Gaia. The structure is likely the Virgo Stellar Stream and/or Virgo Over-Density. We show the structure is aligned with the Magellanic Stream and suggest that it is either debris from a disrupted dwarf galaxy that was a member of the Vast Polar Structure or that it is SMC debris from a tidal interaction of the SMC and LMC 3 Gyr ago. If the latter then the sub-structure in Virgo may have a Magellanic origin.

    T. S. Li, J. D. Simon, K. Kuehn, A. B. Pace, D. Erkal, K. Bechtol, B. Yanny, A. Drlica-Wagner, J. L. Marshall, C. Lidman, E. Balbinot, D. Carollo, S. Jenkins, C. E. Martínez-Vázquez, N. Shipp, K. M. Stringer, A. K. Vivas, A. R. Walker, R. H. Wechsler, F. B. Abdalla, S. Allam, J. Annis, S. Avila, E. Bertin, D. Brooks, E. Buckley-Geer, D. L. Burke, A. Carnero Rosell, M. Carrasco Kind, J. Carretero, C. E. Cunha, C. B. D’Andrea, L. N. da Costa, C. Davis, J. De Vicente, P. Doel, T. F. Eifler, A. E. Evrard, B. Flaugher, J. Frieman, J. García-Bellido, E. Gaztanaga, D. W. Gerdes, D. Gruen, R. A. Gruendl, J. Gschwend, G. Gutierrez, W. G. Hartley, D. L. Hollowood, K. Honscheid, D. J. James, E. Krause, M. A. G. Maia, M. March, F. Menanteau, R. Miquel, A. A. Plazas, E. Sanchez, B. Santiago, V. Scarpine, R. Schindler, M. Schubnell, I. Sevilla-Noarbe, M. Smith, R. C. Smith, M. Soares-Santos, F. Sobreira, E. Suchyta, M. E. C. Swanson, G. Tarle, D. L. Tucker (2018)The First Tidally Disrupted Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxy?: A Spectroscopic Analysis of the Tucana III Stream, In: The Astrophysical Journal866(1) IOP Publishing / The American Astronomical Society

    We present a spectroscopic study of the tidal tails and core of the Milky Way satellite Tucana III, collectively referred to as the Tucana III stream, using the 2dF+AAOmega spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope and the IMACS spectrograph on the Magellan Baade Telescope. In addition to recovering the brightest nine previously known member stars in the Tucana III core, we identify 22 members in the tidal tails. We observe strong evidence for a velocity gradient of 8.0 ± 0.4 km/s-1 deg-1 over at least 3° on the sky. Based on the continuity in velocity, we confirm that the Tucana III tails are real tidal extensions of Tucana III. The large velocity gradient of the stream implies that Tucana III is likely on a radial orbit. We successfully obtain metallicities for four members in the core and 12 members in the tails. We find that members close to the ends of the stream tend to be more metal-poor than members in the core, indicating a possible metallicity gradient between the center of the progenitor halo and its edge. The spread in metallicity suggests that the progenitor of the Tucana III stream is likely a dwarf galaxy rather than a star cluster. Furthermore, we find that with the precise photometry of the Dark Energy Survey data, there is a discernible color offset between metal-rich disk stars and metal-poor stream members. This metallicity-dependent color offers a more efficient method to recognize metal-poor targets and will increase the selection efficiency of stream members for future spectroscopic follow-up programs on stellar streams.

    Sergey E Koposov, Matthew G Walker, Vasily Belokurov, Andrew R Casey, Alex Geringer-Sameth, Dougal Mackey, Gary Da Costa, Denis Erkal, Prashin Jethwa, Mario Mateo, Edward W Olszewski, John I Bailey III (2018)Snake in the Clouds: A new nearby dwarf galaxy in the Magellanic bridge, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press

    We report the discovery of a nearby dwarf galaxy in the constellation of Hydrus, between the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds. Hydrus 1 is a mildy elliptical ultra-faint system with luminosity MV ∼ −4.7 and size 53 ± 3 pc, located 28 kpc from the Sun and 24 kpc from the LMC. From spectroscopy of ∼ 30 member stars, we measure a velocity dispersion of 2.7±0.5 km s−1 and find tentative evidence for a radial velocity gradient consistent with 3 km s−1 rotation. Hydrus 1’s velocity dispersion indicates that the system is dark matter dominated, but its dynamical mass-to-light ratio M/L=66+29 −20 is significantly smaller than typical for ultra-faint dwarfs at similar luminosity. The kinematics and spatial position of Hydrus 1 make it a very plausible member of the family of satellites brought into the Milky Way by the Magellanic Clouds. While Hydrus 1’s proximity and well-measured kinematics make it a promising target for dark matter annihilation searches, we find no evidence for significant gamma-ray emission from Hydrus 1. The new dwarf is a metal-poor galaxy with a mean metallicity [Fe/H]=−2.5 and [Fe/H] standard deviation of 0.4 dex, similar to other systems of similar luminosity. Alpha-abundances of Hyi 1 members indicate that star-formation was extended, lasting between 0.1 and 1 Gyr, with self-enrichment dominated by SN Ia. The dwarf also hosts a highly carbon-enhanced extremely metal-poor star with [Fe/H]∼ −3.2 and [C/Fe] ∼ +3.0.

    Denis Erkal, Douglas Boubert, Alessia Gualandris, N. Wyn Evans, Fabio Antonini (2018)A hypervelocity star with a Magellanic origin, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (OUP)

    Using proper motion measurements from Gaia DR2, we probe the origin of 26 previously known hypervelocity stars (HVSs) around the Milky Way. We find that a significant fraction of these stars have a high probability of originating close to the Milky Way centre, but there is one obvious outlier. HVS3 is highly likely to be coming almost from the centre of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). During its closest approach, 21.1 +6.1 −4.6 Myr ago, it had a relative velocity of 870 +69 −66 kms −1 with respect to the LMC. This large kick velocity is only consistent with the Hills mechanism, requiring a massive black hole at the centre of the LMC. This provides strong direct evidence that the LMC itself harbours a massive black hole of at least 4×10 3 −10 4 M ⊙ .

    J.D Simon, T.S Li, D. Erkal, A.B Pace, A. Drlica-Wagner, D.J James, J.L Marshall, K. Bechtol, T. Hansen, K. Kuehn, C. Lidman, S. Allam, J. Annis, S. Avila, E. Bertin, D. Brooks, D.L Burke, A. Carnero Rosell, M. Carrosco Kind, J. Carretero, L.N da Costa, J. De Vicente, S. Desai, P. Doel, T.F Eifler, S. Everett, P. Fosalba, J. Frieman, J. Garcia-Bellido, E. Gaztanaga, D.W Gerdes, D. Gruen, R.A Gruendi, J. Gschwend, G. Gutierrez, D.L Hollowood, K. Honscheid, E. Krause, N. Kuropatkin, N. MacCrann, M.A.G Maia, M. March, R. Miquel, A. Palmese, F. Paz-Chinchon, A.A Plazas, K. Reil, A. Roodman, E. Sanchez, B. Santiago, V. Scarpine, M. Schubnell, S. Serrano, M. Smith, E. Suchyta, G. Tarle, A.R Walker (2020)BIRDS OF A FEATHER? MAGELLAN/IMACS SPECTROSCOPY OF THE ULTRA-FAINT SATELLITES GRUS II, TUCANA IV, AND TUCANA V, In: The Astrophysical Journal IOP Publishing

    We present Magellan/IMACS spectroscopy of three recently discovered ultra-faint Milky Way satellites, Grus II, Tucana IV, and Tucana V. We measure systemic velocities of vhel = −110.0±0.5 km s−1, vhel = 15.9+1.8 −1.7 km s−1, and vhel = −36.2+2.5 −2.2 km s−1 for the three objects, respectively. Their large relative velocities demonstrate that the satellites are unrelated despite their close physical proximity. We determine a velocity dispersion for Tuc IV of σ = 4.3+1.7 −1.0 km s−1, but we cannot resolve the velocity dispersions of the other two systems. For Gru II we place an upper limit (90% confidence) on the dispersion of σ < 1.9 km s−1, and for Tuc V we do not obtain any useful limits. All three satellites have metallicities below [Fe/H] = −2.1, but none has a detectable metallicity spread. We determine proper motions for each satellite based on Gaia astrometry and compute their orbits around the Milky Way. Gru II is on a tightly bound orbit with a pericenter of 25+6 −7 kpc and orbital eccentricity of 0.45+0.08 −0.05. Tuc V likely has an apocenter beyond 100 kpc, and could be approaching the Milky Way for the first time. The current orbit of Tuc IV is similar to that of Gru II, with a pericenter of 25+11 −8 kpc and an eccentricity of 0.36+0.13 −0.06. However, a backward integration of the position of Tuc IV demonstrates that it collided with the Large Magellanic Cloud at an impact parameter of 4 kpc ∼ 120 Myr ago, deflecting its trajectory and possibly altering its internal kinematics. Based on their sizes, masses, and metallicities, we classify Gru II and Tuc IV as likely dwarf galaxies, but the nature of Tuc V remains uncertain.

    Manuel Arca Sedda, Alessia Gualandris, Tuan Do, Anja Feldmeier-Krause, Nadine Neumayer, Denis Erkal (2020)On the origin of a rotating metal-poor stellar population in the Milky Way Nuclear Cluster, In: Astrophysical Journal Letters IOP Publishing

    We explore the origin of a population of stars recently detected in the inner parsec of the Milky Way Nuclear Cluster (NC), which exhibit sub-solar metallicity and a higher rotation compared to the dominant population. Using state-of-the-art N-body simulations, we model the infall of massive stellar systems into the Galactic center, both of Galactic and extra-galactic origin. We show that the newly discovered population can either be the remnant of a massive star cluster formed a few kpc away from the Galactic center (Galactic scenario) or be accreted from a dwarf galaxy originally located at 10-100 kpc (extragalactic scenario) and that reached the Galactic center 3

    D. Boubert, D. Erkal, A. Gualandris (2020)Deflection of the hypervelocity stars by the pull of the Large Magellanic Cloud on the Milky Way, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press

    Stars slingshotted by the supermassive black hole at the Galactic centre escape from the Milky Way so quickly that their trajectories are almost straight lines. Previous works have shown how these `hypervelocity stars' (stars moving faster than the local Galactic escape speed) are subsequently de ected by the gravitational field of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), but have neglected to account for the reflex motion of the Milky Way in response to the y-by of the LMC. A consequence of this motion is that the hypervelocity stars we see in the outskirts of the Milky Way today were ejected from where the Milky Way centre was hundreds of millions of years ago. This change in perspective causes large apparent de ections of several degrees in the trajectories of the hypervelocity stars. We quantify these deflections by simulating the ejection of hypervelocity stars from an isolated Milky Way (with a spherical or flattened dark matter halo), from a fixed-in-place Milky Way with a passing LMC, and from a Milky Way which responds to the passage of the LMC, finding that LMC passage causes larger de ections than can be caused by a attened Galactic dark matter halo in CDM. The 10 as yr

    T.J.L de Boer, Denis Erkal, M. Gieles (2020)A closer look at the spur, blob, wiggle, and gaps in GD-1, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society

    The GD-1 stream is one of the longest and coldest stellar streams discovered to date, and one of the best objects for constraining the dark matter properties of the Milky Way. Using data from Gaia DR2 we study the proper motions, distance, morphology and density of the streamto uncover small scale perturbations. The proper motion cleaned data shows a clear distance gradient across the stream, ranging from 7 to 12 kpc. However, unlike earlier studies thatfound a continuous gradient, we uncover a distance minimum atφ1≈-50 deg, after which the distance increases again. We can reliably trace the stream between -85< φ1

    V Belokurov, Denis Erkal, NW Evans, SE Koposov, AJ Deason (2018)Co-formation of the disc and the stellar halo, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society478(1)pp. 611-619 Oxford University Press

    Using a large sample of Main Sequence stars with 7-D measurements supplied by Gaia and SDSS, we study the kinematic properties of the local (within ∼10 kpc from the Sun) stellar halo. We demonstrate that the halo’s velocity ellipsoid evolves strongly with metallicity. At the low [Fe/H] end, the orbital anisotropy (the amount of motion in the radial direction compared to the tangential one) is mildly radial with 0.2 < β < 0.4. However, for stars with [Fe/H]> −1.7 we measure extreme values of β ∼ 0.9. Across the metallicity range considered, i.e. −3 1010M⊙ around the epoch of the Galactic disc formation, i.e. between 8 and 11 Gyr ago. The radical halo anisotropy is the result of the dramatic radialisation of the massive progenitor’s orbit, amplified by the action of the growing disc.

    Nilanjan Banik, Jo Bovy, Gianfranco Bertone, Denis Erkal, T. J. L de Boer (2021)Novel constraints on the particle nature of dark matter from stellar streams, In: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

    We analyze the distribution of stars along the GD-1 stream with a combination of data from the ${\it Gaia}$ satellite and the Pan-STARRS survey, and we show that the population of subhalos predicted by the cold dark matter paradigm are necessary and sufficient to explain the perturbations observed in the linear density of stars. This allows us to set novel constraints on alternative dark matter scenarios that predict a suppression of the subhalo mass function on scales smaller than the mass of dwarf galaxies. A combined analysis of the density perturbations in the GD-1 and Pal 5 streams leads to a $95\%$ lower limit on the mass of warm dark matter thermal relics $m_{\rm WDM}>4.6$ keV; adding dwarf satellite counts strengthens this to $m_{\rm WDM}>6.3$ keV.

    Kathy Vivas, Clara Martínez-Vázquez, Alistair Walker, Vasily Belokurov, Ting Li, Denis Erkal (2021)Variable Stars in the giant satellite galaxy Antlia 2, In: The Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society

    We report 350 pulsating variable stars found in four DECam fields (∼ 12 sq. deg.) covering the Antlia 2 satellite galaxy. The sample of variables includes 318 RR Lyrae stars and eight anomalous Cepheids in the galaxy. Reclassification of several objects designated previously to be RR Lyrae as Anomalous Cepheids gets rid of the satellite's stars intervening along the line of sight. This in turn removes the need for prolific tidal disruption of the dwarf, in agreement with the recently updated proper motion and peri-centre measurements based on Gaia EDR3. There are also several bright foreground RR Lyrae stars in the field, and two distant background variables located ∼ 45 kpc behind Antlia 2. We found RR Lyrae stars over the full search area, suggesting that the galaxy is very large and likely extends beyond our observed area. The mean period of the RRab in Antlia 2 is 0.599 days, while the RRc have a mean period of 0.368 days, indicating the galaxy is an Oosterhoff-intermediate system. The distance to Antlia 2 based on the RR Lyrae stars is 124.1 kpc (µ 0 = 20.47) with a dispersion of 5.4 kpc. We measured a clear distance gradient along the semi-major axis of the galaxy, with the SouthEast side of Antlia 2 being ∼ 13 kpc farther away from the NorthWest side. This elongation along the line of sight is likely due to the ongoing tidal disruption of Ant 2.

    P. S. Ferguson, J. D. Sakowska, N. Shipp, A Drlica-Wagner, T. S. Li, W. Cerny, K. Tavangar, A. B. Pace, J. L. Marshall, A. H. Riley, M. Adamów, J. L. Carlin, Y. Choi, D. Erkal, D. J. James, Sergey E. Koposov, N Kuropatkin, C. E. Martínez-Vázquez, S Mau, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, K. A. G. Olsen, G. S. Stringfellow, B Yanny (2021)DELVE-ing into the Jet: a thin stellar stream on a retrograde orbit at 30 kpc, In: Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society

    We perform a detailed photometric and astrometric analysis of stars in the Jet stream using data from the first data release of the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey (DELVE) DR1 and Gaia EDR3. We discover that the stream extends over ∼ 29 • on the sky (increasing the known length by 18 •), which is comparable to the kinematically cold Phoenix, ATLAS, and GD-1 streams. Using blue horizontal branch stars, we resolve a distance gradient along the Jet stream of 0.2 kpc/deg, with distances ranging from D ∼ 27−34 kpc. We use natural splines to simultaneously fit the stream track, width, and intensity to quantitatively characterize density variations in the Jet stream, including a large gap, and identify substructure off the main track of the stream. Furthermore, we report the first measurement of the proper motion of the Jet stream and find that it is well-aligned with the stream track suggesting the stream has likely not been significantly perturbed perpendicular to the line of sight. Corresponding author: Peter Ferguson peter.ferguson@wisc.edu 2 DELVE Collaboration Finally, we fit the stream with a dynamical model and find that the stream is on a retrograde orbit, and is well fit by a gravitational potential including the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud. These results indicate the Jet stream is an excellent candidate for future studies with deeper photometry, astrometry, and spectroscopy to study the potential of the Milky Way and probe perturbations from baryonic and dark matter substructure.

    A D Mackey, L R Cullinane, G S Da Costa, D Erkal, S E Koposov, V Belokurov (2022)The Magellanic Edges Survey III. Kinematics of the disturbed LMC outskirts, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press

    We explore the structural and kinematic properties of the outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using data from the Magellanic Edges Survey (MagES) and Gaia EDR3. Even at large galactocentric radii (8○ < R < 11○), we find the north-eastern LMC disk is relatively unperturbed: its kinematics are consistent with a disk of inclination ∼36.5○ and line-of-nodes position angle ∼145○ east of north. In contrast, fields at similar radii in the southern and western disk are significantly perturbed from equilibrium, with non-zero radial and vertical velocities, and distances significantly in front of the disk plane implied by our north-eastern fields. We compare our observations to simple dynamical models of the Magellanic/Milky Way system which describe the LMC as a collection of tracer particles within a rigid potential, and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) as a rigid Hernquist potential. A possible SMC crossing of the LMC disk plane ∼400 Myr ago, in combination with the LMC’s infall to the Milky Way potential, can qualitatively explain many of the perturbations in the outer disk. Additionally, we find the claw-like and arm-like structures south of the LMC have similar metallicities to the outer LMC disk ([Fe/H] ∼ −1), and are likely comprised of perturbed LMC disk material. The claw-like substructure is particularly disturbed, with out-of-plane velocities >60 km s−1 and apparent counter-rotation relative to the LMC’s disk motion. More detailed N-body models are necessary to elucidate the origin of these southern features, potentially requiring repeated interactions with the SMC prior to ∼1 Gyr ago.

    Andrew R. Casey, Alexander P. Ji, Terese T. Hansen, Ting S Li, Sergey E. Koposov, Gary Da Costa, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Lara Cullinane, DENIS ERKAL, Geraint F. Lewis, Kyler Kuehn, Dougal Mackey, Sarah L. Martell, Andrew B. Pace, Jeffrey D. Simpson, Daniel B. Zucker (2021)Signature of a massive rotating metal-poor star imprinted in the Phoenix stellar stream *, In: The Astrophysical journal IOP Publishing

    The Phoenix stellar stream has a low intrinsic dispersion in velocity and metallicity that implies the progenitor was probably a low mass globular cluster. In this work we use Magellan/MIKE high-dispersion spectroscopy of eight Phoenix stream red giants to confirm this scenario. In particular, we find negligible intrinsic scatter in metallicity (σ([Fe II/H]) = 0.04 +0.11 −0.03) and a large peak-to-peak range in [Na/Fe] and [Al/Fe] abundance ratios, consistent with the light element abundance patterns seen in the most metal-poor globular clusters. However, unlike any other globular cluster, we also find an intrinsic spread in [Sr II/Fe] spanning ∼1 dex, while [Ba II/Fe] shows nearly no intrinsic spread (σ([Ba II/H]) = 0.03 +0.10 −0.02). This abundance signature is best interpreted as slow neutron capture element production from a massive fast-rotating metal-poor star (15−20 M , v ini /v crit = 0.4, [Fe/H] = −3.8). The low inferred cluster mass suggests the system would have been unable to retain supernovae ejecta, implying that any massive fast-rotating metal-poor star that enriched the interstellar medium must have formed and evolved before the globular cluster formed. Neutron capture element production from asymptotic giant branch stars or magneto-rotational instabilities in core-collapse supernovae provide poor fits to the observations. We also report one Phoenix stream star to be a lithium-rich giant (A(Li) = 3.1 ± 0.1). At [Fe/H] = −2.93 it is among the most metal-poor lithium-rich giants known.

    A. Drlica-Wagner, J. L. Carlin, D. L. Nidever, P. S. Ferguson, N. Kuropatkin, M. Adamow, W. Cerny, Y. Choi, J. H. Esteves, C. E. Martinez-Vazquez, S. Mau, A. E. Miller, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, E. H. Neilsen, K. A. G. Olsen, A. B. Pace, A. H. Riley, J. D. Sakowska, D. J. Sand, E. J. Tollerud, L. Santana-Silva, D. L. Tucker, A. K. Vivas, E. Zaborowski, A. Zenteno, T. M. C. Abbott, S. Allam, K. Bechtol, C. P. M. Bell, E. F. Bell, P. Bilaji, C. R. Bom, J. A. Carballo-Bello, D. Crnojevic, M. R. L. Cioni, A. Diaz-Ocampo, T. J. L. de Boer, D. Erkal, R. A. Gruendl, D. Hernandez-Lang, A. K. Hughes, D. J. James, L. C. Johnson, T. S. Li, Y-Y Mao, D. Martinez-Delgado, P. Massana, M. McNanna, R. Morgan, E. O. Nadler, N. E. D. Noel, A. Palmese, A. H. G. Peter, E. S. Rykoff, J. Sanchez, N. Shipp, J. D. Simon, A. Smercina, M. Soares-Santos, G. S. Stringfellow, K. Tavangar, R. P. van Der Marel, A. R. Walker, R. H. Wechsler, J. F. Wu, B. Yanny, M. Fitzpatrick, L. Huang, A. Jacques, R. Nikutta, A. Scott, (2021)The DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey: Overview and First Data Release, In: The Astrophysical journal. Supplement series256(1) IOP Publishing Ltd

    The DECam Local Volume Exploration survey (DELVE) is a 126-night survey program on the 4 m Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. DELVE seeks to understand the characteristics of faint satellite galaxies and other resolved stellar substructures over a range of environments in the Local Volume. DELVE will combine new DECam observations with archival DECam data to cover similar to 15,000 deg(2) of high Galactic latitude (vertical bar b vertical bar > 10 degrees) southern sky to a 5 sigma depth of g, r, i, z similar to 23.5 mag. In addition, DELVE will cover a region of similar to 2200 deg(2) around the Magellanic Clouds to a depth of g, r, i similar to 24.5 mag and an area of similar to 135 deg(2) around four Magellanic analogs to a depth of g, i similar to 25.5 mag. Here, we present an overview of the DELVE program and progress to date. We also summarize the first DELVE public data release (DELVE DR1), which provides point-source and automatic aperture photometry for similar to 520 million astronomical sources covering similar to 5000 deg(2) of the southern sky to a 5 sigma point-source depth of g = 24.3 mag, r = 23.9 mag, i = 23.3 mag, and z = 22.8 mag. DELVE DR1 is publicly available via the NOIRLab Astro Data Lab science platform.

    L R Cullinane, A D Mackey, G S Da Costa, D Erkal, S E Koposov, V Belokurov (2021)The Magellanic Edges Survey II. Formation of the LMC's northern arm, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societypp. 1-25 Oxford University Press

    The highly-substructured outskirts of the Magellanic Clouds provide ideal locations for studying the complex interaction history between both Clouds and the Milky Way (MW). In this paper, we investigate the origin of a >20 • long arm-like feature in the northern outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using data from the Magellanic Edges Survey (MagES) and Gaia EDR3. We find that the arm has a similar geometry and metallicity to the nearby outer LMC disk, indicating that it is comprised of perturbed disk material. Whilst the azimuthal velocity and velocity dispersions along the arm are consistent with those in the outer LMC, the in-plane radial velocity and out-of-plane vertical velocity are significantly perturbed from equilibrium disk kinematics. We compare these observations to a new suite of dynamical models of the Magellanic/MW system, which describe the LMC as a collection of tracer particles within a rigid potential, and the SMC as a rigid Hernquist potential. Our models indicate the tidal force of the MW during the LMC's infall is likely responsible for the observed increasing out-of-plane velocity along the arm. Our models also suggest close LMC/SMC interactions within the past Gyr, particularly the SMC's pericentric passage ~150 Myr ago and a possible SMC crossing of the LMC disk plane ~400 Myr ago, likely do not perturb stars that today comprise the arm. Historical interactions with the SMC prior to ~1 Gyr ago may be required to explain some of the observed kinematic properties of the arm, in particular its strongly negative in-plane radial velocity.

    Eugene Vasiliev, Vasily Belokurov, Denis Erkal (2020)Tango for three: Sagittarius, LMC, and the Milky Way, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society501(2)pp. 2279-2304 Oxford University Press

    We assemble a catalogue of candidate Sagittarius stream members with 5D and 6D phase-space information, using astrometric data from Gaia DR2, distances estimated from RR Lyrae stars, and line-of-sight velocities from various spectroscopic surveys. We find a clear misalignment between the stream track and the direction of the reflex-corrected proper motions in the leading arm of the stream, which we interpret as a signature of a time-dependent perturbation of the gravitational potential. A likely cause of this perturbation is the recent passage of the most massive Milky Way satellite – the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We develop novel methods for simulating the Sagittarius stream in the presence of the LMC, using specially tailored N-body simulations and a flexible parametrization of the Milky Way halo density profile. We find that while models without the LMC can fit most stream features rather well, they fail to reproduce the misalignment and overestimate the distance to the leading arm apocentre. On the other hand, models with an LMC mass in the range (1.3±0.3)×1011M⊙ rectify these deficiencies. We demonstrate that the stream can not be modelled adequately in a static Milky Way. Instead, our Galaxy is required to lurch toward the massive in-falling Cloud, giving the Sgr stream its peculiar shape and kinematics. By exploring the parameter space of Milky Way potentials, we determine the enclosed mass within 100 kpc to be (5.6±0.4)×1011M⊙⁠, and the virial mass to be (9.0±1.3)×1011M⊙⁠, and find tentative evidence for a radially-varying shape and orientation of the Galactic halo.

    Sophia Lilleengen, Michael S. Petersen, Denis Erkal, Jorge Peñarrubia, Sergey E. Koposov, Ting S Li, Lara R. Cullinane, Alexander P. Ji, Kyler Kuehn, Geraint F. Lewis, Dougal Mackey, Andrew B. Pace, Nora Shipp, Daniel B. Zucker, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Tariq Hilmi (2022)The effect of the deforming dark matter haloes of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud on the Orphan-Chenab stream, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society518(1)pp. 774-790

    It has recently been shown that the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) has a substantial effect on the Milky Way's stellar halo and stellar streams. Here, we explore how deformations of the Milky Way and LMC's dark matter haloes affect stellar streams, and whether these effects are observable. In particular, we focus on the Orphan-Chenab (OC) stream which passes particularly close to the LMC and spans a large portion of the Milky Way's halo. We represent the Milky Way–LMC system using basis function expansions that capture their evolution in an-body simulation. We present the properties of this system, such as the evolution of the densities and force fields of each galaxy. The OC stream is evolved in this time-dependent, deforming potential, and we investigate the effects of the various moments of the Milky Way and the LMC. We find that the simulated OC stream is strongly influenced by the deformations of both the Milky Way and the LMC and that this effect is much larger than current observational errors. In particular, the Milky Way dipole has the biggest impact on the stream, followed by the evolution of the LMC's monopole, and the LMC's quadrupole. Detecting these effects would confirm a key prediction of collisionless, cold dark matter, and would be a powerful test of alternative dark matter and alternative gravity models.

    Koposov Sergey E , Denis Erkal, Ting S Li, Costa Gary S Da, Cullinane Lara R, Ji Alexander P, Kuehn Kyler, Lewis Geraint F, Pace Andrew B, Shipp Nora, Zucker Daniel B, Bland-Hawthorn Joss, Lilleengen Sophia, Martell Sarah L (2023)s5 : Probing the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds potentials with the 6-D map of the Orphan-Chenab stream, In: MNRAS Oxford University

    We present a 6-D map of the Orphan-Chenab (OC) stream by combining the data from Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (5) and Gaia. We reconstruct the proper motion, radial velocity, distance, on-sky track and stellar density along the stream with spline models. The stream has a total luminosity of = −8.2 and metallicity of [Fe/H] = −1.9, similar to classical Milky Way (MW) satellites like Draco. The stream shows drastic changes in its physical width varying from 200 pc to 1 kpc, but a constant line of sight velocity dispersion of 5 km s −1. Despite the large apparent variation in the stellar number density along the stream, the flow rate of stars along the stream is remarkably constant. We model the 6-D stream track by a Lagrange-point stripping method with a flexible MW potential in the presence of a moving extended Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This allows us to constrain the mass profile of the MW within the distance range 15.6 < r < 55.5 kpc, with the best measured enclosed mass of (2.85 ± 0.1) × 10 11 M within 32.4 kpc. Our stream measurements are highly sensitive to the LMC mass profile with the most precise measurement of its enclosed mass made at 32.8 kpc, (7.02 ± 0.9) × 10 10 M. We also detect that the LMC dark matter halo extends to at least 53 kpc. The fitting of the OC stream allows us to constrain the past LMC trajectory and the degree of dynamical friction it experienced. We demonstrate that the stars in the OC stream show large energy and angular momentum spreads caused by LMC perturbation.

    Anirudh Chiti, Anna Frebel, Joshua D Simon, Denis Erkal, Laura J Chang, Lina Necib, Alexander P Ji, Helmut Jerjen, Dongwon Kim, John E Norris (2021)An extended halo around an ancient dwarf galaxy, In: NATURE ASTRONOMY Springer Nature

    The Milky Way is surrounded by dozens of ultra-faint (< $10^5$ solar luminosities) dwarf satellite galaxies. They are the surviving remnants of the earliest galaxies, as confirmed by their ancient (~13 billion years old) and chemically primitive stars. Simulations suggest that these systems formed within extended dark matter halos and experienced early galaxy mergers and supernova feedback. However, the signatures of these events would lie outside their core regions (>2 half-light radii), which are spectroscopically unstudied due to the sparseness of their distant stars. Here we identify members of the Tucana II ultra-faint dwarf galaxy in its outer region (up to 9 half-light radii), demonstrating the system to be dramatically more spatially extended and chemically primitive than previously found. These distant stars are extremely metal-poor (=-3.02; less than ~1/1000th of the solar iron abundance), affirming Tucana II as the most metal-poor known galaxy. We observationally establish, for the first time, an extended dark matter halo surrounding an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy out to one kiloparsec, with a total mass of >$10^7$ solar masses. This measurement is consistent with the expected ~2x$10^7$ solar masses using a generalized NFW density profile. The extended nature of Tucana II suggests that it may have undergone strong bursty feedback or been the product of an early galactic merger. We demonstrate that spatially extended stellar populations, which other ultra-faint dwarfs hint at hosting as well, are observable in principle and open the possibility for detailed studies of the stellar halos of relic galaxies.

    Mark Gieles, Denis Erkal, Fabio Antonini, Eduardo Balbinot, Jorge Peñarrubia (2021)A supra-massive population of stellar-mass black holes in the globular cluster Palomar 5, In: Nature Astronomy Nature Research

    Palomar 5 is one of the sparsest star clusters in the Galactic halo and is best-known for its spectacular tidal tails, spanning over 20 degrees across the sky. With N-body simulations we show that both distinguishing features can result from a stellar-mass black hole population, comprising ~20% of the present-day cluster mass. In this scenario, Palomar 5 formed with a `normal' black hole mass fraction of a few per cent, but stars were lost at a higher rate than black holes, such that the black hole fraction gradually increased. This inflated the cluster, enhancing tidal stripping and tail formation. A gigayear from now, the cluster will dissolve as a 100% black hole cluster. Initially denser clusters end up with lower black hole fractions, smaller sizes, and no observable tails. Black hole-dominated, extended star clusters are therefore the likely progenitors of the recently discovered thin stellar streams in the Galactic halo.

    Lara Cullinane, Dougal Mackey, Gary Da Costa, Sergey E. Koposov, Denis Erkal (2023)The Magellanic Edges Survey – IV. Complex tidal debris in the SMC outskirts, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters581(1)pp. L25-L30 Oxford University Press

    We use data from the Magellanic Edges Survey (MagES) in combination with Gaia EDR3 to study the extreme southern outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), focussing on a field at the eastern end of a long arm-like structure which wraps around the southern periphery of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Unlike the remainder of this structure, which is thought to be comprised of perturbed LMC disc material, the aggregate properties of the field indicate a clear connection with the SMC. We find evidence for two stellar populations in the field: one having properties consistent with the outskirts of the main SMC body, and the other significantly perturbed. The perturbed population is on average ∼0.2 dex more metal-rich, and is located ∼7 kpc in front of the dominant population with a total space velocity relative to the SMC centre of ∼230 km s−1 broadly in the direction of the LMC. We speculate on possible origins for this perturbed population, the most plausible of which is that it comprises debris from the inner SMC that has been recently tidally stripped by interactions with the LMC.

    Alis J Deason, Denis Erkal, Vasily Belokurov, Azadeh Fattahi, Facundo A Gómez, Robert J. J Grand, Rüdiger Pakmor, Xiang-Xiang Xue, Chao Liu, Chengqun Yang, Lan Zhang, Gang Zhao (2020)The mass of the Milky Way out to 100 kpc using halo stars, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society501(4)pp. 5964-5972 Royal Astronomical Society

    We use a distribution function analysis to estimate the mass of the Milky Way out to 100 kpc using a large sample of halo stars. These stars are compiled from the literature, and the vast majority (~98%) have 6D phase-space information. We pay particular attention to systematic effects, such as the dynamical influence of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and the effect of unrelaxed substructure. The LMC biases the (pre-LMC infall) halo mass estimates towards higher values, while realistic stellar halos from cosmological simulations tend to underestimate the true halo mass. After applying our method to the Milky Way data we find a mass within 100 kpc of M(< 100 kpc) = 6.07 +/- 0.29 (stat.) +/- 1.21 (sys.) x 10^11 M_Sun. For this estimate, we have approximately corrected for the reflex motion induced by the LMC using the Erkal et al. model, which assumes a rigid potential for the LMC and MW. Furthermore, stars that likely belong to the Sagittarius stream are removed, and we include a 5% systematic bias, and a 20% systematic uncertainty based on our tests with cosmological simulations. Assuming the mass-concentration relation for Navarro-Frenk-White haloes, our mass estimate favours a total (pre-LMC infall) Milky Way mass of M_200c = 1.01 +/- 0.24 x 10^12 M_Sun, or (post-LMC infall) mass of M_200c = 1.16 +/- 0.24 x 10^12 M_Sun when a 1.5 x 10^11 M_Sun mass of a rigid LMC is included.

    W. Cerny, A.B Pace, A Drlica-Wagner, S. E. Koposov, A. K. Vivas, S Mau, A. H. Riley, C. R Bom, J. L. Carlin, Y. Choi, DENIS ERKAL, P. S. Ferguson, D. J. James, T. S. Li, D Martinez-Delgado, C. E. Martínez-Vázquez, Ricardo R. Muñoz, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, K. A. G. Olsen, A Pieres, Joanna D Sakowska, D. J. Sand, J. D. Simon, A Smercina, G. S. Stringfellow, E. J. Tollerud, M. Adamów, D. Hernandez-Lang, N Kuropatkin, L. Santana-Silva, D. L. Tucker, A. Zenteno, (2021)Eridanus IV: an Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxy Candidate Discovered in the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey, In: The Astrophysical Journal Letters920(2) IOP

    We present the discovery of a candidate ultra-faint Milky Way satellite, Eridanus IV (DELVE J0505$-$0931), detected in photometric data from the DECam Local Volume Exploration survey (DELVE). Eridanus IV is a faint ($M_V = -4.7 \pm 0.2$), extended ($r_{1/2} = 75^{+16}_{-13}$ pc), and elliptical ($\epsilon = 0.54 \pm 0.1$) system at a heliocentric distance of $76.7^{+4.0}_{-6.1}$ kpc, with a stellar population that is well-described by an old, metal-poor isochrone (age of $\tau \sim 13.0$ Gyr and metallicity of ${\rm [Fe/H] \lesssim -2.1}$ dex). These properties are consistent with the known population of ultra-faint Milky Way satellite galaxies. Eridanus IV is also prominently detected using proper motion measurements from Gaia Early Data Release 3, with a systemic proper motion of $(\mu_{\alpha} \cos \delta, \mu_{\delta}) = (+0.25 \pm 0.06, -0.10 \pm 0.05)$ mas yr$^{-1}$ measured from its horizontal branch and red giant branch member stars. We find that the spatial distribution of likely member stars hints at the possibility that the system is undergoing tidal disruption.

    Pol Massana, Noelia E D Noël, David L Nidever, Denis Erkal, Thomas J L de Boer, Yumi Choi, Steven R Majewski, Knut Olsen, Antonela Monachesi, Carme Gallart, Roeland P van der Marel, Tomás Ruiz-Lara, Dennis Zaritsky, Nicolas F Martin, Ricardo R Muñoz, Maria-Rosa L Cioni, Cameron P M Bell, Eric F Bell, Guy S Stringfellow, Vasily Belokurov, Matteo Monelli, Alistair R Walker, David Martínez-Delgado, A Katherina Vivas, Blair C Conn (2020)SMASHing the low surface brightness SMC, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society498(1)pp. 1034-1049 Oxford University Press

    The periphery of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) can unlock important information regarding galaxy formation and evolution in interacting systems. Here, we present a detailed study of the extended stellar structure of the SMC using deep colour–magnitude diagrams, obtained as part of the Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History (SMASH). Special care was taken in the decontamination of our data from Milky Way (MW) foreground stars, including from foreground globular clusters NGC 362 and 47 Tuc. We derived the SMC surface brightness using a ‘conservative’ approach from which we calculated the general parameters of the SMC, finding a staggered surface brightness profile. We also traced the fainter outskirts by constructing a stellar density profile. This approach, based on stellar counts of the oldest main-sequence turn-off stars, uncovered a tidally disrupted stellar feature that reaches as far out as 12 deg from the SMC centre. We also serendipitously found a faint feature of unknown origin located at ∼14 deg from the centre of the SMC and that we tentatively associated with a more distant structure. We compared our results to in-house simulations of a 1 × 109 M⊙ SMC, finding that its elliptical shape can be explained by its tidal disruption under the combined presence of the MW and the Large Magellanic Cloud. Finally, we found that the older stellar populations show a smooth profile while the younger component presents a jump in the density followed by a flat profile, confirming the heavily disturbed nature of the SMC.

    Andrew B Pace, Denis Erkal, Ting S Li (2022)Proper Motions, Orbits, and Tidal Influences of Milky Way Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies, In: The Astrophysical Journal940136 IOP Publishing

    We combine Gaia early data release 3 astrometry with accurate photometry and utilize a probabilistic mixture model to measure the systemic proper motion of 52 dwarf spheroidal (dSph) satellite galaxies of the Milky Way (MW). For the 46 dSphs with literature line-of-sight velocities we compute orbits in both a MW and a combined MW + Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) potential and identify Car II, Car III, Hor I, Hyi I, Phx II, and Ret II as likely LMC satellites. 40% of our dSph sample has a >25% change in pericenter and/or apocenter with the MW + LMC potential. For these orbits, we use a Monte Carlo sample for the observational uncertainties for each dSph and the uncertainties in the MW and LMC potentials. We predict that Ant II, Boo III, Cra II, Gru II, and Tuc III should be tidally disrupting by comparing each dSph's average density relative to the MW density at its pericenter. dSphs with large ellipticity (CVn I, Her, Tuc V, UMa I, UMa II, UMi, Wil 1) show a preference for their orbital direction to align with their major axis even for dSphs with large pericenters. We compare the dSph radial orbital phase to subhalos in MW-like N-body simulations and infer that there is not an excess of satellites near their pericenter. With projections of future Gaia data releases, we find that dSph's orbital precision will be limited by uncertainties in the distance and/or MW potential rather than in proper motion precision. Finally, we provide our membership catalogs to enable community follow-up.

    Jason L Sanders, Edward J Lilley, Eugene Vasiliev, N Wyn Evans, Denis Erkal (2020)Models of distorted and evolving dark matter haloes, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society499(4)pp. 4793-4813 Oxford University Press

    We investigate the ability of basis function expansions to reproduce the evolution of a Milky Way-like dark matter halo, extracted from a cosmological zoom-in simulation. For each snapshot, the density of the halo is reduced to a basis function expansion, with interpolation used to recreate the evolution between snapshots. The angular variation of the halo density is described by spherical harmonics, and the radial variation either by biorthonormal basis functions adapted to handle truncated haloes or by splines. High fidelity orbit reconstructions are attainable using either method with similar computational expense. We quantify how the error in the reconstructed orbits varies with expansion order and snapshot spacing. Despite the many possible biorthonormal expansions, it is hard to beat a conventional Hernquist–Ostriker expansion with a moderate number of terms (≳15 radial and ≳6 angular). As two applications of the developed machinery, we assess the impact of the time-dependence of the potential on (i) the orbits of Milky Way satellites and (ii) planes of satellites as observed in the Milky Way and other nearby galaxies. Time evolution over the last 5 Gyr introduces an uncertainty in the Milky Way satellites’ orbital parameters of $\sim 15 \, \mathrm{per\, cent}$, comparable to that induced by the observational errors or the uncertainty in the present-day Milky Way potential. On average, planes of satellites grow at similar rates in evolving and time-independent potentials. There can be more, or less, growth in the plane’s thickness, if the plane becomes less, or more, aligned with the major or minor axis of the evolving halo.

    W. Cerny, Joshua D. Simon, TIANRU LI, A Drlica-Wagner, A.B Pace, C. E Martınez-Vazquez, A. H. Riley, B. Mutlu-Pakdil, S Mau, P. S. Ferguson, DENIS ERKAL, Ricardo R. Muñoz, C. R Bom, J. L. Carlin, D. Carollo, Y. Choi, A. P. Ji, D Martınez-Delgado, V Manwadkar, A. E Miller, NOELIA ESTELLA DONATA NOEL, Joanna D Sakowska, D. J. Sand, G. S. Stringfellow, E. J. Tollerud, AK Vivas, Julio A. Carballo-Bello, D. Hernandez-Lang, DEBORAH JAMES, J. L. Nilo Castellon, K. A. G Olsen, A. Zenteno (2022)Pegasus IV: Discovery and Spectroscopic Confirmation of an Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxy in the Constellation Pegasus

    We report the discovery of Pegasus IV, an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy found in archival data from the Dark Energy Camera processed by the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey. Pegasus IV is a compact, ultra-faint stellar system ($r_{1/2} = 41^{+8}_{-6}$ pc; $M_V = -4.25 \pm 0.2$ mag) located at a heliocentric distance of $90^{+4}_{-6}$ kpc. Based on spectra of seven non-variable member stars observed with Magellan/IMACS, we confidently resolve Pegasus IV's velocity dispersion, measuring $\sigma_{v} = 3.3^{+1.7}_{-1.1} \text{ km s}^{-1}$ (after excluding three velocity outliers); this implies a mass-to-light ratio of $M_{1/2}/L_{V,1/2} = 167^{+224}_{-99} M_{\odot}/L_{\odot}$ for the system. From the five stars with the highest signal-to-noise spectra, we also measure a systemic metallicity of $\rm [Fe/H] = -2.67^{+0.25}_{-0.29}$ dex, making Pegasus IV one of the most metal-poor ultra-faint dwarfs. We tentatively resolve a non-zero metallicity dispersion for the system. These measurements provide strong evidence that Pegasus IV is a dark-matter-dominated dwarf galaxy, rather than a star cluster. We measure Pegasus IV's proper motion using data from Gaia Early Data Release 3, finding ($\mu_{\alpha*}, \mu_{\delta}) = (0.33\pm 0.07, -0.21 \pm 0.08) \text{ mas yr}^{-1}$. When combined with our measured systemic velocity, this proper motion suggests that Pegasus IV is on an elliptical, retrograde orbit, and is currently near its orbital apocenter. Lastly, we identify three potential RR Lyrae variable stars within Pegasus IV, including one candidate member located more than ten half-light radii away from the system's centroid. The discovery of yet another ultra-faint dwarf galaxy strongly suggests that the census of Milky Way satellites is still incomplete, even within 100 kpc.

    DENIS ERKAL, Alis J. Deason, Vasily Belokurov, Xiang-Xiang Xue, Sergey E. Koposov, Sarah A. Bird, Chao Liu, Iulia T. Simion, Chengqun Yang, Lan Zhang, Gang Zhao (2021)Detection of the LMC-induced sloshing of the Galactic halo, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press

    A wealth of recent studies have shown that the LMC is likely massive, with a halo mass > 10¹¹MꙨ. One consequence of having such a nearby and massive neighbour is that the inner Milky Way is expected to be accelerated with respect to our Galaxy’s outskirts (beyond ~ 30 kpc). In this work we compile a sample of ~ 500 stars with radial velocities in the distant stellar halo, rGC > 50 kpc, to test this hypothesis. These stars span a large fraction of the sky and thus give a global view of the stellar halo. We find that stars in the Southern hemisphere are on average blueshifted, while stars in the North are redshifted, consistent with the expected, mostly downwards acceleration of the inner halo due to the LMC. We compare these results with simulations and find the signal is consistent with the infall of a 1:5 10¹¹MꙨ LMC. We cross-match our stellar sample with Gaia DR2 and find that the mean proper motions are not yet precise enough to discern the LMC’s effect. Our results show that the Milky Way is significantly out of equilibrium and that the LMC has a substantial effect on our Galaxy.