Discovery of a Disrupting Open Cluster Far into the Milky Way Halo: A Recent Star Formation Event in the Leading Arm of the Magellanic Stream?
AuthorPrice-Whelan, Adrian M.
Nidever, David L.
Schlafly, Edward F.
Koposov, Sergey E.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Steward Observ
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherIOP PUBLISHING LTD
CitationAdrian M. Price-Whelan et al 2019 ApJ 887 19
RightsCopyright © 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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AbstractWe report the discovery of a young (tau similar to 117 Myr), low-mass (M similar to 1200 M.), metal-poor ([Fe H] similar to -1.14) stellar association at a heliocentric distance D approximate to 28.7 kpc, placing it far into the Milky Way (MW) halo. At its present Galactocentric position (R, z) similar to (23, 15) kpc, the association is (on the sky) near the leading arm of the gas stream emanating from the Magellanic Cloud system, but is located approximate to 60 degrees from the Large Magellanic Cloud center on the other side of the MW disk. If the cluster is colocated with H I gas in the stream, we directly measure the distance to the leading arm of the Magellanic stream. The measured distance is inconsistent with Magellanic stream model predictions that do not account for ram pressure and gas interaction with the MW disk. The estimated age of the cluster is consistent with the time of last passage of the leading arm gas through the Galactic midplane; we therefore speculate that this star formation event was triggered by its last disk midplane passage. Most details of this idea remain a puzzle: the Magellanic stream has low column density, the MW disk at large radii has low gas density, and the relative velocity of the leading arm and MW gas is large. However it formed, the discovery of a young stellar cluster in the MW halo presents an interesting opportunity for study. This cluster was discovered with Gaia astrometry and photometry alone, but follow-up DECam photometry was crucial for measuring its properties.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Science Foundation (NSF) [AST-1813881]; Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) [2018A-0251]; Center for Computational Astrophysics