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Exploding Satellites -- The Tidal Debris of the Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxy Hercules

Küpper, AHW, Johnston, KV, Mieske, S, Collins, Michelle and Tollerud, EJ (2017) Exploding Satellites -- The Tidal Debris of the Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxy Hercules The Astrophysical Journal: an international review of astronomy and astronomical physics, 834 (2).

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The ultra-faint satellite galaxy Hercules has a strongly elongated and irregular morphology with detections of tidal features up to 1.3 deg (3 kpc) from its center. This suggests that Hercules may be dissolving under the Milky Way’s gravitational influence, and hence could be a tidal stream in formation rather than a bound, dark-matter dominated satellite. Using Bayesian inference in combination with N-body simulations, we show that Hercules has to be on a very eccentric orbit ( ≈ 0.95) within the Milky Way in this scenario. On such an orbit, Hercules “explodes” as a consequence of the last tidal shock at pericenter 0.5 Gyr ago. It is currently decelerating towards apocenter of its orbit with a velocity of V = 157 km s−1 – of which 99% is directed radially outwards. Due to differential orbital precession caused by the non-spherical nature of the Galactic potential, its debris fans out nearly perpendicular to its orbit. This explains why Hercules has an elongated shape without showing a distance gradient along its main body: it is in fact a stream that is significantly broader than it is long. In other words, it is moving perpendicular to its apparent major axis. In this scenario, there is a spike in the radial velocity profile created by the dominant debris component that formed through the last pericenter passage. This is similar to kinematic substructure that is observed in the real Hercules. Modeling a satellite on such a highly eccentric orbit is strongly dependent on the form of the Galactic potential. We therefore propose that detailed kinematic investigation of Hercules and other exploding satellite candidates can yield strong constraints on the potential of the Milky Way.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Physics
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Küpper, AHW
Johnston, KV
Mieske, S
Tollerud, EJ
Date : 6 January 2017
DOI : 10.3847/1538-4357/834/2/112
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2017 American Astronomical Society. Reproduced with permission.
Uncontrolled Keywords : dark matter — Galaxy: halo — Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics — galaxies: dwarf — galaxies: individual (Hercules)
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 27 Jan 2017 14:41
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 17:11

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