Evidence for a milky way tidal stream reaching beyond 100 kpc

A. J. Drake, M. Catelan, S. G. Djorgovski, G. Torrealba, M. J. Graham, A. Mahabal, J. L. Prieto, C. Donalek, R. Williams, S. Larson, E. Christensen, E. Beshore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


We present the analysis of 1207 RR Lyrae found in photometry taken by the Catalina Survey's Mount Lemmon telescope. By combining accurate distances for these stars with measurements for ∼14,000 type-ab RR Lyrae from the Catalina Schmidt telescope, we reveal an extended association that reaches Galactocentric distances beyond 100 kpc and overlaps the Sagittarius stream system. This result confirms earlier evidence for the existence of an outer halo tidal stream resulting from a disrupted stellar system. By comparing the RR Lyrae source density with that expected based on halo models, we find the detection has ∼8σ significance. We investigate the distances, radial velocities, metallicities, and period-amplitude distribution of the RR Lyrae. We find that both radial velocities and distances are inconsistent with current models of the Sagittarius stream. We also find tentative evidence for a division in source metallicities for the most distant sources. Following prior analyses, we compare the locations and distances of the RR Lyrae with photometrically selected candidate horizontal branch stars and find supporting evidence that this structure spans at least 60° of the sky. We investigate the prospects of an association between the stream and the unusual globular cluster NGC 2419.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 10 2013


  • Galaxy: Structure
  • Galaxy: formation
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: stellar content
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • stars: variables:RR Lyrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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