Journal Article Formation of the Andromeda giant stream: asymmetric structure and disc progenitor

Kirihara, T.  ,  Miki, Y.  ,  Mori, M.  ,  Kawaguchi, T.  ,  Rich, R. M.

464 ( 3 )  , pp.3509 - 3525 , 2017-01 , Oxford University Press
We focus on the evidence of a past minor merger discovered in the halo of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Previous N-body studies have enjoyed moderate success in producing the observed giant stellar stream (GSS) and stellar shells in M31's halo. The observed distribution of stars in the halo of M31 shows an asymmetric surface brightness profile across the GSS; however, the effect of the morphology of the progenitor galaxy on the internal structure of the GSS requires further investigation in theoretical studies. To investigate the physical connection between the characteristic surface brightness in the GSS and the morphology of the progenitor dwarf galaxy, we systematically vary the thickness, rotation velocity and initial inclination of the disc dwarf galaxy in N-body simulations. The formation of the observed structures appears to be dominated by the progenitor's rotation. Besides reproducing the observed GSS and two shells in detail, we predict additional structures for further observations. We predict the detectability of the progenitor's stellar core in the phase-space density distribution, azimuthal metallicity gradient of the western shell-like structure and an additional extended shell in the north-western direction that may constrain the properties of the progenitor galaxy.

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