Pavel Kroupa: Satellite Galaxies

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Dark matter, cosmology and progress

Originally pointed out by Kroupa, Theis & Boily (2005, MNRAS, The great disk of Milky-Way satellites and cosmological sub-strutures), the distribution of satellite galaxies around the Milky Way in a huge disk-of-satellites (DoS), stands as perhaps the greatest challenge for dark-matter based cosmological models. Today we know that the DoS is part of the vast polar structure (VPOS) which includes all satellite galaxies, young halo globular clusters and a large fraction of stellar and gas streams.

The only physically viable interpretation of this structure is for the satellite galaxies to be ancient tidal dwarf galaxies (TDGs), formed together with star clusters in a tidal tail when the 2-4 Gyr old Milky Way had an encounter with the Andromeda galaxy, as calculated by Zhao et al. (2013). An alternative scenario may be that a merger occurred in Andromeda about 5 Gyr ago and the tidal tail thrown out then together with the TDGs and star clusters that formed in it has swept past the Milky Way ( Hammer et al. 2013 ). Andromeda must be involved, because the DoS around Andromeda and the DoS of the Milky Way are strongly correlated ( Pawlowski et al. 2013, Dwarf galaxy planes: the discovery of symmetric structures in the Local Group ).

An example of this on-going in the present-day Universe is seen nicely in the the Tadpole galaxy and has been described by Pawlowski et al. (2011, A & A) for the first time. But if this is the case, then the satellite galaxies cannot contain dark matter. However, they appear to be dominated by dark matter. The only way to reconcile this contradicting evidence is to accept non-Newtonian gravitation such that the classical generalised gravitational law equals Newton's, but effectively becomes stronger below a critical gradient in the effective potential. MilgrOmiaN Dynamics (MOND) stands as the currently best available such theory.

The Vast Polar Structure (VPOS) of the Milky Way

VPOS: Pawlowski et al. (2012)
Video of the VPOS including all currently (April 2012) known satellite galaxies plus all young halo globular clusters plus all known stellar and gaseous streams (from Pawlowski, Pflamm-Altenburg & Kroupa, 2012, MNRAS). The centrtal blue line in the video is the Milky Way seen edge-on. The grey equatorial regions indicate the zones which are obscured by the disk of the Milky Way.

The VPOS extends from at least about 10 kpc from the Galactic centre to probably beyond 250 kpc. It has a thickness/diameter ratio of about 1:10.

The existence of this vast phase-space correlated structure constitutes the observational falsification of the satellite galaxies being individual dark-matter dominated primordial satellites that individually fell-in to the Milky Way dark matter halo (see e.g. Pawlowski et al. 2014, MNRAS and Pawlowski et al. 2015, ApJ). But because every major galaxy such as the Milky Way must have a substantial number such dark-matter-dominated satellite galaxies in the standard dark-matter-based cosmological model, the DoS falsifies this model of cosmology.

It is because the DoSs or the VPOS or the planes of satellites have such very deep implications for theoretical physics that the mere existence of these structures is being challenged heavily by the dark-matter community.

The Disk of Satellites of the Milky Way

The Disk of Satellites including all currently (July 2010) known satellites. See Fig.4 in Kroupa et al. (2010, A & A). Here, the upper panel shows the fitted edge-on DoS with dashed lines indicating 1xDelta_min (rather than 1.5xDelta_min in Fig.4).

A movie of the whole vast polar structure (VPOS), of which the here shown satellites are only a part of the population, is available above.

Helmut Jerjen: The Stromlo Milky Way Satellite Survey

The SMS program is a critical endeavor to investigate whether the predictions of standard cold dark matter cosmology are consistent with the observed matter distribution in the Milky Way halo.

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