Clumpy streams from clumpy halos: Detecting missing satellites with cold stellar structures

Joo Heon Yoon, Kathryn V. Johnston, David W. Hogg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Dynamically cold stellar streams are ideal probes of the gravitational field of the Milky Way. This paper re-examines the question of how such streams might be used to test for the presence of "missing satellites" - the many thousands of dark-matter subhalos with masses 105-107 M which are seen to orbit within Galactic-scale dark-matter halos in simulations of structure formation in ΛCDM cosmologies. Analytical estimates of the frequency and energy scales of stream encounters indicate that these missing satellites should have a negligible effect on hot debris structures, such as the tails from the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. However, long cold streams, such as the structure known as GD1 or those from the globular cluster Palomar 5 (Pal 5), are expected to suffer many tens of direct impacts from missing satellites during their lifetimes. Numerical experiments confirm that these impacts create gaps in the debris' orbital energy distribution, which will evolve into degree- and sub-degree-scale fluctuations in surface density over the age of the debris. Maps of Pal 5's own stream contain surface density fluctuations on these scales. The presence and frequency of these inhomogeneities suggests the existence of a population of missing satellites in numbers predicted in the standard ΛCDM cosmologies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number58
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume731
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 10 2011

    Fingerprint

    stellar structure
    halos
    debris
    dark matter
    dwarf galaxies
    globular clusters
    encounters
    inhomogeneity
    gravitational fields
    energy
    energy distribution
    probe
    cold
    orbits
    orbitals
    life (durability)
    probes
    estimates
    simulation
    experiment

    Keywords

    • cosmology: theory
    • dark matter
    • Galaxy: halo
    • Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics
    • Galaxy: structure

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Space and Planetary Science
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics

    Cite this

    Clumpy streams from clumpy halos : Detecting missing satellites with cold stellar structures. / Yoon, Joo Heon; Johnston, Kathryn V.; Hogg, David W.

    In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 731, No. 1, 58, 10.04.2011.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Yoon, Joo Heon ; Johnston, Kathryn V. ; Hogg, David W. / Clumpy streams from clumpy halos : Detecting missing satellites with cold stellar structures. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2011 ; Vol. 731, No. 1.
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