Volume 546, October 2012
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||16 October 2012|
Clumpy streams in a smooth dark halo: the case of Palomar 5⋆
Dipartimento di FisicaUniversitá di Roma La Sapienza,
Piazzale Aldo Moro 2,
2 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
3 ISC-CNR & Dipartimento di Fisica, Universitá di Roma La Sapienza, Piazzale Aldo Moro 2, 00185 Rome, Italy
Accepted: 27 August 2012
By means of direct N-body simulations and simplified numerical models, we study the formation and characteristics of the tidal tails around Palomar 5, along its orbit in the Milky Way potential. Unlike previous findings, we are able to reproduce the substructures observed in the stellar streams of this cluster, without including any lumpiness in the dark matter halo. We show that overdensities similar to those observed in Palomar 5 can be reproduced by the epicyclic motion of stars along its tails, i.e. a simple local accumulation of orbits of stars that escaped from the cluster with very similar positions and velocities. This process is able to form stellar clumps at distances of several kiloparsecs from the cluster, so it is not a phenomenon confined to the inner part of Palomar 5’s tails, as previously suggested. Our models can reproduce the density contrast between the clumps and the surrounding tails found in the observed streams, without including any lumpiness in the dark halo, suggesting new upper limits on its granularity.
Key words: Galaxy: halo / globular clusters: individual: Palomar 5 / Galaxy: evolution / Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics / methods: numerical
Appendices A and B are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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