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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Carlos Frenk

Sales, L. V., Navarro, J. F., Kallivayalil, N. & Frenk, C. S. (2017). Identifying true satellites of the Magellanic Clouds. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 465(2): 1879-188.

Author(s) from Durham


The hierarchical nature of ΛCDM suggests that the Magellanic Clouds must have been surrounded by a number of satellites before their infall into the Milky Way halo. Many of those satellites should still be in close proximity to the Clouds, but some could have dispersed ahead/behind the Clouds along their Galactic orbit. Either way, prior association with the Clouds constrains the present-day positions and velocities of candidate Magellanic satellites: they must lie close to the nearly polar orbital plane of the Magellanic Stream, and their distances and radial velocities must follow the latitude dependence expected for a tidal stream with the Clouds near pericentre. We use a cosmological numerical simulation of the disruption of a massive sub-halo in a Milky Way-sized ΛCDM halo to test whether any of the 20 dwarfs recently discovered in the Dark Energy Survey, the Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History, Pan-STARRS, and ATLAS surveys are truly associated with the Clouds. Of the six systems with kinematic data, only Hor 1 has distance and radial velocities consistent with a Magellanic origin. Of the remaining dwarfs, six (Hor 2, Eri 3, Ret 3, Tuc 4, Tuc 5, and Phx 2) have positions and distances consistent with a Magellanic origin, but kinematic data are needed to substantiate that possibility. Conclusive evidence for association would require proper motions to constrain the orbital angular momentum direction, which, for true Magellanic satellites, must be similar to that of the Clouds. We use this result to predict radial velocities and proper motions for all new dwarfs, assuming that they were Magellanic satellites. Our results are relatively insensitive to the assumption of first or second pericentre for the Clouds