Journal Article The nature of the progenitor of the M31 north-western stream: globular clusters as milestones of its orbit

Kirihara, T.  ,  Miki, Y.  ,  Mori, M.

469 ( 3 )  , pp.3390 - 3395 , 2017-08 , Oxford University Press
We examine the nature, possible orbits and physical properties of the progenitor of the north-western stellar stream (NWS) in the halo of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). The progenitor is assumed to be an accreting dwarf galaxy with globular clusters (GCs). It is, in general, difficult to determine the progenitor's orbit precisely because of many necessary parameters. Recently, Veljanoski et al. reported five GCs whose positions and radial velocities suggest an association with the stream. We use these data to constrain the orbital motions of the progenitor using test-particle simulations. Our simulations split the orbit solutions into two branches according to whether the stream ends up in the foreground or in the background of M31. Upcoming observations that will determine the distance to the NWS will be able to reject one of the two branches. In either case, the solutions require that the pericentric radius of any possible orbit be over 2 kpc. We estimate the efficiency of the tidal disruption and confirm the consistency with the assumption for the progenitor being a dwarf galaxy. The progenitor requires the mass ≳ 2 × 106 M⊙ and half-light radius ≳ 30 pc. In addition, N-body simulations successfully reproduce the basic observed features of the NWS and the GCs' line-of-sight velocities.

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