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05 August 2020
  » arxiv » astro-ph/0101543

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Interpreting Debris from Satellite Disruption In External Galaxies
Kathryn V. Johnston ; Penny D. Sackett ; James S. Bullock ;
Date 30 Dec 2000
Subject astro-ph
AffiliationWesleyan University), Penny D. Sackett (University of Gronigen) and James S. Bullock (Ohio State University
AbstractWe examine the detectability and interpretation of debris trails caused by satellite disruption in external galaxies using semi-analytic approximations for the dependence of streamer length, width and surface brightness on satellite and primary galaxy characteristics. The semi-analytic method is tested successfully against N-body simulations and then applied to three representative astronomical applications. First, we show how streamer properties can be used to estimate mass-to-light ratios $Upsilon$ and streamer ages of totally disrupted satellites, and apply the method to the stellar arc in NGC 5907. Second, we discuss how the lack of observed tidal debris around a satellite can provide an upper limit on its mass-loss rate, and, as an example, derive the implied limits on mass-loss rates for M32 and NGC 205 around Andromeda. Finally, we point out that a statistical analysis of streamer properties might be applied to test and refine cosmological models of hierarchical galaxy formation, and use the predicted debris from a standard $Lambda$CDM realization to test the feasibility of such a study. Using the Local Group satellites and the few known examples of debris trails in the Galaxy and in external systems, we estimate that the best current techniques could characterize the brightest ($R < 29$ mag/ arcsec$^{2}$) portions of the youngest (3 dynamical periods) debris streamers. If systematics can be controlled, planned large-aperture telescopes such as CELT and OWL may allow fainter trails to be detected routinely and thus used for statistical studies such as those required for tests of galaxy formation.
Source arXiv, astro-ph/0101543
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