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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Alis Deason

Cunningham, E.C., Deason, A.J., Guhathakurta, P., Rockosi, C.M., van der Marel, R.P., Toloba, E., Gilbert, K.M., Sohn, S.T. & Dorman, C.E. (2016). Isotropic at the Break? 3D Kinematics of Milky Way Halo Stars in the Foreground of M31. The Astrophysical Journal 820(1): 18.

Author(s) from Durham


We present the line-of-sight (LOS) velocities for 13 distant main sequence Milky Way halo stars with published proper motions. The proper motions were measured using long baseline (5-7 years) multi-epoch HST/ACS photometry, and the LOS velocities were extracted from deep (5-6 hour integrations) Keck II/DEIMOS spectra. We estimate the parameters of the velocity ellipsoid of the stellar halo using a Markov chain Monte Carlo ensembler sampler method. The velocity second moments in the directions of the Galactic (l,b, LOS) coordinate system are ⟨v2l⟩1/2=138+43−26 km/s, ⟨v2b⟩1/2=88+28−17 km/s, and ⟨v2LOS⟩1/2=91+27−14 km/s. We use these ellipsoid parameters to constrain the velocity anisotropy of the stellar halo. Ours is the first measurement of the anisotropy parameter β using 3D kinematics outside of the solar neighborhood. We find β=−0.3+0.4−0.9, consistent with isotropy and lower than solar neighborhood β measurements by 2σ (βSN∼0.5−0.7). We identify two stars in our sample that are likely members of the known TriAnd substructure, and excluding these objects from our sample increases our estimate of the anisotropy to β=0.1+0.4−1.0, which is still lower than solar neighborhood measurements by 1σ. The potential decrease in β with Galactocentric radius is inconsistent with theoretical predictions, though consistent with recent observational studies, and may indicate the presence of large, shell-type structure (or structures) at r∼25 kpc. The methods described in this paper will be applied to a much larger sample of stars with 3D kinematics observed through the ongoing HALO7D program.