Document Type

Journal Article

Role

Author

Standard Number

2041-8205

Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal Letters

Volume

790

Issue

1

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

We report on the discovery of the most distant Milky Way (MW) stars known to date: ULAS J001535.72+015549.6 and ULAS J074417.48+253233.0. These stars were selected as M giant candidates based on their infrared and optical colors and lack of proper motions. We spectroscopically confirmed them as outer halo giants using the MMT/Red Channel spectrograph. Both stars have large estimated distances, with ULAS J001535.72+015549.6 at 274 ± 74 kpc and ULAS J074417.48+253233.0 at 238 ± 64 kpc, making them the first MW stars discovered beyond 200 kpc. ULAS J001535.72+015549.6 and ULAS J074417.48+253233.0 are both moving away from the Galactic center at 52 ± 10 km s–1 and 24 ± 10 km s–1, respectively. Using their distances and kinematics, we considered possible origins such as: tidal stripping from a dwarf galaxy, ejection from the MW's disk, or membership in an undetected dwarf galaxy. These M giants, along with two inner halo giants that were also confirmed during this campaign, are the first to map largely unexplored regions of our Galaxy's outer halo.

Faculty Start Year

2013

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