AN EXTENDED VIEW of the PISCES OVERDENSITY from the SCUSS SURVEY

J. D. Nie, M. C. Smith, V. Belokurov, Xiaohui Fan, Z. Fan, M. J. Irwin, Z. J. Jiang, Y. P. Jing, S. E. Koposov, Michael P Lesser, J. Ma, S. Y. Shen, J. L. Wang, Z. Y. Wu, T. M. Zhang, X. Zhou, Z. M. Zhou, H. Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The South Galactic Cap u-band Sky Survey (SCUSS) is a u-band photometric survey covering about 4000 square degrees of the South Galactic Cap, reaching depths of up to 23 mag. By extending around 1.5 mag deeper than the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) single-epoch u data, SCUSS is able to probe a much larger volume of the outer halo, i.e., with SCUSS data blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars can trace the outer halo of the Milky Way as far as 100-150 kpc. Utilizing this advantage we combine the SCUSS u-band with the SDSS DR9 gri photometric bands to identify BHB stars and explore halo substructures. We confirm the existence of the Pisces overdensity, which is a structure in the outer halo (at around 80 kpc) that was discovered using RR Lyrae stars. For the first time we are able to determine its spatial extent, finding that it appears to be part of a stream with a clear distance gradient. The stream, which is ∼5° wide and stretches along ∼25°, consists of 20-30 BHBs with a total significance of around 6σ over the background. Assuming we have detected the entire stream and that the progenitor has fully disrupted, then the number of BHBs suggests that the original system was similar to a smaller classical or a larger ultra-faint dwarf galaxy. On the other hand, if the progenitor still exists, it can be hunted for by reconstructing its orbit from the distance gradient of the stream. This new picture of the Pisces overdensity sheds new light on the origin of this intriguing system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume810
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 10 2015

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Keywords

  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: structure
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Nie, J. D., Smith, M. C., Belokurov, V., Fan, X., Fan, Z., Irwin, M. J., ... Zou, H. (2015). AN EXTENDED VIEW of the PISCES OVERDENSITY from the SCUSS SURVEY. Astrophysical Journal, 810(2), [153]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/810/2/153