A first measurement of the Proper Motion of the Leo II dwarf spheroidal galaxy

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 08/2011; 741(2). DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/100;
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We use 14-year baseline images obtained with the Wide Field Planetary Camera
2 on board the Hubble Space telescope to derive a proper motion for one of the
Milky Way's most distant dwarf spheroidal companions, Leo II, relative to an
extragalactic background reference frame. Astrometric measurements are
performed in the effective point spread function (ePSF) formalism using our own
developed code. An astrometric reference grid is defined using 3,224 stars that
are members of Leo II that are brighter than magnitude 25 in the F814W band. We
identify 17 compact extra-galactic sources, for which we measure a systemic
proper motion relative to this stellar reference grid. We derive a proper
motion [\mu_{\alpha},\mu_{\delta}]=[+104+/-113,-33+/-151] microarcseconds/yr
for Leo II in the heliocentric reference frame. Though marginally detected, the
proper motion yields constraints on the orbit of Leo II. Given a distance of
230 Kpc and a heliocentric radial velocity +79 km/s, and after subtraction of
the solar motion, our measurement indicates a total orbital motion
266.1+/-128.7 km/s in the Galactocentric reference frame, with a radial
component +21.5+/-4.3 km/s and tangential component 265.2+/-129.4 km/s. The
small radial component indicates that Leo II either has a low-eccentricity
orbit, or is currently close to perigalacticon or apogalacticon distance. We
see evidence for systematic errors in the astrometry of the extragalactic
sources which, while close to being point sources, are slightly resolved in the
HST images. We argue that more extensive observations at later epochs will be
necessary to better constrain the proper motion of Leo II. We provide a
detailed catalog of the stellar and extragalactic sources identified in the HST
data which should provide a solid early-epoch reference for future astrometric

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The satellite galaxies of the Milky Way (MW) define a vast polar structure (VPOS), a thin plane perpendicular to the MW disc. Proper motion (PM) measurements are now available for all of the 11 brightest, `classical' satellites and allow an updated analysis of the alignment of their orbital poles with this spatial structure. The coherent orbital alignment of 7 to 9 out of 11 satellites demonstrates that the VPOS is a rotationally stabilized structure and not only a pressure-supported, flattened ellipsoid. This allows us to empirically and model independently predict the PMs of almost all satellite galaxies by assuming that the MW satellite galaxies orbit within the VPOS. As a test of our method, the predictions are best met by satellites whose PMs are already well constrained, as expected because more uncertain measurements tend to deviate more from the true values. Improved and new PM measurements will further test these predictions. A strong alignment of the satellite galaxy orbital poles is not expected in dark matter based simulations of galaxy formation. Coherent orbital directions of satellite galaxies are, however, a natural consequence of tidal dwarf galaxies formed together in the debris of a galaxy collision. The orbital poles of the MW satellite galaxies therefore lend further support to tidal scenarios for the origin of the VPOS and are a very significant challenge for the standard LCDM model of cosmology. We also note that the dependence of the MW satellite speeds on Galactocentric distance appear to map an effective potential with a constant velocity of approximately 240 km/s to about 250 kpc. The individual satellite velocities are only mildly radial.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2013; 435(3). · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We use simulations of Milky Way-sized dark matter haloes from the Aquarius Project to investigate the orbits of substructure haloes likely, according to a semi-analytic galaxy formation model, to host luminous satellites. These tend to populate the most massive subhaloes and are on more radial orbits than the majority of subhaloes found within the halo virial radius. One reason for this (mild) kinematic bias is that many low-mass subhaloes have apocentres that exceed the virial radius of the main host; they are thus excluded from subhalo samples identified within the virial boundary, reducing the number of subhalos on radial orbits. Two other factors contributing to the difference in orbital shape between dark and luminous subhaloes are their dynamical evolution after infall, which affects more markedly low-mass (dark) subhaloes, and a weak dependence of ellipticity on the redshift of first infall. The ellipticity distribution of luminous satellites exhibits little halo-to-halo scatter and it may therefore be compared fruitfully with that of Milky Way satellites. Since the latter depends sensitively on the total mass of the Milky Way we can use the predicted distribution of satellite ellipticities to place constraints on this important parameter. Using the latest estimates of position and velocity of dwarfs compiled from the literature, we find that the most likely Milky Way mass lies in the range 6 x 10^11 M_sun < M_200 < 3.1 x 10^12 M_sun, with a best fit value of M_200 = 1.1 x 10^12 M_sun. This value is consistent with Milky Way mass estimates based on dynamical tracers or the timing argument.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2013; 437(1). · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has proven to be uniquely suited for the measurement of proper motions (PMs) of stars and galaxies in the nearby Universe. Here we summarize the main results and ongoing studies of the HSTPROMO collaboration, which over the past decade has executed some two dozen observational and theoretical HST projects on this topic. This is continuing to revolutionize our dynamical understanding of many objects, including: globular clusters; young star clusters; stars and stellar streams in the Milky Way halo; Local Group galaxies, including dwarf satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Andromeda galaxy; and AGN Black Hole Jets.


Available from