Saturday, 25 June 2011

Astro-ph: Stellar Streams as Probes of Dark Halo Mass

PhD student, Anjali Varghese, working with me and my close colleague,  Rodrigo Ibata, has had her paper working on probing dark matter halos with stellar streams accepted. Congratulations Anjali!!

Stellar Streams as Probes of Dark Halo Mass and Morphology: A Bayesian Reconstruction

Anjali Varghese, Rodrigo A. Ibata, Geraint F. Lewis

Tidal streams provide a powerful tool by means of which the matter distribution of the dark matter halos of their host galaxies can be studied. However, the analysis is not straightforward because streams do not delineate orbits, and for most streams, especially those in external galaxies, kinematic information is absent. We present a method wherein streams are fit with simple corrections made to possible orbits of the progenitor, using a Bayesian technique known as Parallel Tempering to efficiently explore the parameter space. We show that it is possible to constrain the shape of the host halo potential or its density distribution using only the projection of tidal streams on the sky, if the host halo is considered to be axisymmetric. By adding kinematic data or the circular velocity curve of the host to the fitting data, we are able to recover other parameters of the matter distribution such as its mass and profile. We test our method on several simulated low mass stellar streams and also explore the cases for which additional data are required. 

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