Identification of A‐colored Stars and Structure in the Halo of the Milky Way from Sloan Digital Sky Survey Commissioning Data

Brian Yanny, Heidi Jo Newberg, Steve Kent, Sally A. Laurent‐Muehleisen, Jeffrey R. Pier, Gordon T. Richards, Chris Stoughton, John E. Anderson, Jr., James Annis, J. Brinkmann, Bing Chen, Istvan Csabai (+12 others)
2000 Astrophysical Journal  
A sample of 4208 objects with magnitude 15 < g* < 22 and colors of main sequence A stars has been selected from 370 square degrees of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) commissioning observations. The data is from two long, narrow stripes, each with an opening angle of greater than 60 deg, at Galactic latitudes 36 < abs(b) < 63 on the celestial equator. An examination of the sample's distribution shows that these stars trace considerable substructure in the halo. Large overdensities of A-colored
more » ... ars in the North at (l,b,R) = (350, 50, 46 kpc) and in the South at (157, -58, 33 kpc) and extending over tens of degrees are present in the halo of the Milky Way. Using photometry to separate the stars by surface gravity, both structures are shown to contain a sequence of low surface gravity stars consistent with identification as a blue horizontal branch (BHB). Both structures also contain a population of high surface gravity stars two magnitudes fainter than the BHB stars, consistent with their identification as blue stragglers (BSs). From the numbers of detected BHB stars, lower limits to the implied mass of the structures are 6x10^6 M_sun and 2x10^6 M_sun. The fact that two such large clumps have been detected in a survey of only 1% of the sky indicates that such structures are not uncommon in the halo. Simple spheroidal parameters are fit to a complete sample of the remaining unclumped BHB stars and yield (at r < 40 kpc) a fit to a halo distribution with flattening (c/a = 0.65+/-0.2) and a density falloff exponent of alpha = -3.2+/-0.3.
doi:10.1086/309386 fatcat:tlz3o7w3cvbmbmcej5grho45ie