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NGC 5466: a unique probe of the Galactic halo shape


Lux, H; Read, J I; Lake, G; Johnston, K V (2012). NGC 5466: a unique probe of the Galactic halo shape. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Letters, 424(1):L16-L20.

Abstract

Stellar streams provide unique probes of galactic potentials, with the longer streams normally providing the cleaner measurements. In this Letter, we show an example of a short tidal stream that is particularly sensitive to the shape of the Milky Way's dark matter halo: the globular cluster tidal stream NGC 5466. This stream has an interesting deviation from a smooth orbit at its western edge. We show that such a deviation favours an underlying oblate or triaxial halo (irrespective of plausible variations in the Milky Way disc properties and the specific halo parametrization chosen); spherical or prolate halo shapes can be excluded at a high confidence level. Therefore, more extensive data sets along the NGC 5466 tidal stream promise strong constraints on the Milky Way halo shape.

Abstract

Stellar streams provide unique probes of galactic potentials, with the longer streams normally providing the cleaner measurements. In this Letter, we show an example of a short tidal stream that is particularly sensitive to the shape of the Milky Way's dark matter halo: the globular cluster tidal stream NGC 5466. This stream has an interesting deviation from a smooth orbit at its western edge. We show that such a deviation favours an underlying oblate or triaxial halo (irrespective of plausible variations in the Milky Way disc properties and the specific halo parametrization chosen); spherical or prolate halo shapes can be excluded at a high confidence level. Therefore, more extensive data sets along the NGC 5466 tidal stream promise strong constraints on the Milky Way halo shape.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:04 Mar 2013 16:56
Last Modified:17 Feb 2018 00:35
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1745-3933
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-3933.2012.01276.x

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