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  1. Abstract

    We present a spectroscopic analysis of Eridanus IV (Eri IV) and Centaurus I (Cen I), two ultrafaint dwarf galaxies of the Milky Way. Using IMACS/Magellan spectroscopy, we identify 28 member stars of Eri IV and 34 member stars of Cen I. For Eri IV, we measure a systemic velocity ofvsys=31.51.2+1.3kms1, and velocity dispersionσv=6.10.9+1.2kms1. Additionally, we measure the metallicities of 16 member stars of Eri IV. We find a metallicity of[Fe/H]=2.870.07+0.08, and resolve a dispersion ofσ[Fe/H]=0.20 ± 0.09. The mean metallicity is marginally lower than all other known ultrafaint dwarf galaxies, making it one of the most metal-poor galaxies discovered thus far. Eri IV also has a somewhat unusual right-skewed metallicity distribution. For Cen I, we find a velocityvsys= 44.9 ± 0.8 km s−1, and velocity dispersionσv=4.20.5+0.6kms1. We measure the metallicities of 27 member stars of Cen I, and find a mean metallicity [Fe/H] = −2.57 ± 0.08, and metallicity dispersionσ[Fe/H]=0.380.05+0.07. We calculate the systemic proper motion, orbit, and the astrophysical J-factor for each system, the latter of which indicates that Eri IV is a good target for indirect dark matter detection. We also find no strong evidence for tidal stripping of Cen I or Eri IV. Overall, our measurements confirm that Eri IV and Cen I are dark-matter-dominated galaxies with properties largely consistent with other known ultrafaint dwarf galaxies. The low metallicity, right-skewed metallicity distribution, and high J-factor make Eri IV an especially interesting candidate for further follow-up.

     
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  2. Abstract We present the discovery of DELVE 6, an ultra-faint stellar system identified in the second data release of the DECam Local Volume Exploration (DELVE) survey. Based on a maximum-likelihood fit to its structure and stellar population, we find that DELVE 6 is an old ( τ > 9.8 Gyr at 95% confidence) and metal-poor ([Fe/H] < −1.17 dex at 95% confidence) stellar system with an absolute magnitude of M V = − 1.5 − 0.6 + 0.4 mag and an azimuthally averaged half-light radius of r 1 / 2 = 10 − 3 + 4 pc. These properties are consistent with the population of ultra-faint star clusters uncovered by recent surveys. Interestingly, DELVE 6 is located at an angular separation of ∼10° from the center of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), corresponding to a 3D physical separation of ∼20 kpc given the system’s observed distance ( D ⊙ = 80 kpc). This also places the system ∼35 kpc from the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), lying within recent constraints on the size of the LMC’s dark matter halo. We tentatively measure the proper motion of DELVE 6 using data from Gaia, which we find supports a potential association between the system and the LMC/SMC. Although future kinematic measurements will be necessary to determine its origins, we highlight that DELVE 6 may represent only the second or third ancient ( τ > 9 Gyr) star cluster associated with the SMC, or one of fewer than two dozen ancient clusters associated with the LMC. Nonetheless, we cannot currently rule out the possibility that the system is a distant Milky Way halo star cluster. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Abstract We report the discovery of six ultra-faint Milky Way satellites identified through matched-filter searches conducted using Dark Energy Camera (DECam) data processed as part of the second data release of the DECam Local Volume Exploration (DELVE) survey. Leveraging deep Gemini/GMOS-N imaging (for four candidates) as well as follow-up DECam imaging (for two candidates), we characterize the morphologies and stellar populations of these systems. We find that these candidates all share faint absolute magnitudes ( M V ≥ −3.2 mag) and old, metal-poor stellar populations ( τ > 10 Gyr, [Fe/H] < −1.4 dex). Three of these systems are more extended ( r 1/2 > 15 pc), while the other three are compact ( r 1/2 < 10 pc). From these properties, we infer that the former three systems (Boötes V, Leo Minor I, and Virgo II) are consistent with ultra-faint dwarf galaxy classifications, whereas the latter three (DELVE 3, DELVE 4, and DELVE 5) are likely ultra-faint star clusters. Using data from the Gaia satellite, we confidently measure the proper motion of Boötes V, Leo Minor I, and DELVE 4, and tentatively detect a proper-motion signal from DELVE 3 and DELVE 5; no signal is detected for Virgo II. We use these measurements to explore possible associations between the newly discovered systems and the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Vast Polar Structure, finding several plausible associations. Our results offer a preview of the numerous ultra-faint stellar systems that will soon be discovered by the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and highlight the challenges of classifying the faintest stellar systems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 28, 2024
  4. Abstract

    We report results from a systematic wide-area search for faint dwarf galaxies at heliocentric distances from 0.3 to 2 Mpc using the full 6 yr of data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Unlike previous searches over the DES data, this search specifically targeted a field population of faint galaxies located beyond the Milky Way virial radius. We derive our detection efficiency for faint, resolved dwarf galaxies in the Local Volume with a set of synthetic galaxies and expect our search to be complete toMV∼ (−7, −10) mag for galaxies atD= (0.3, 2.0) Mpc. We find no new field dwarfs in the DES footprint, but we report the discovery of one high-significance candidate dwarf galaxy at a distance of2.20.12+0.05Mpc, a potential satellite of the Local Volume galaxy NGC 55, separated by 47′ (physical separation as small as 30 kpc). We estimate this dwarf galaxy to have an absoluteV-band magnitude of8.00.3+0.5magand an azimuthally averaged physical half-light radius of2.20.4+0.5kpc, making this one of the lowest surface brightness galaxies ever found withμ=32.3magarcsec2. This is the largest, most diffuse galaxy known at this luminosity, suggesting possible tidal interactions with its host.

     
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  5. Abstract We report the discovery of Pegasus IV, an ultra-faint dwarf galaxy found in archival data from the Dark Energy Camera processed by the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey. Pegasus IV is a compact, ultra-faint stellar system ( r 1 / 2 = 41 − 6 + 8 pc; M V = −4.25 ± 0.2 mag) located at a heliocentric distance of 90 − 6 + 4 kpc . Based on spectra of seven nonvariable member stars observed with Magellan/IMACS, we confidently resolve Pegasus IV’s velocity dispersion, measuring σ v = 3.3 − 1.1 + 1.7 km s −1 (after excluding three velocity outliers); this implies a mass-to-light ratio of M 1 / 2 / L V , 1 / 2 = 167 − 99 + 224 M ⊙ / L ⊙ for the system. From the five stars with the highest signal-to-noise spectra, we also measure a systemic metallicity of [Fe/H] = − 2.63 − 0.30 + 0.26 dex, making Pegasus IV one of the most metal-poor ultra-faint dwarfs. We tentatively resolve a nonzero metallicity dispersion for the system. These measurements provide strong evidence that Pegasus IV is a dark-matter-dominated dwarf galaxy, rather than a star cluster. We measure Pegasus IV’s proper motion using data from Gaia Early Data Release 3, finding ( μ α * , μ δ ) = (0.33 ± 0.07, −0.21 ± 0.08) mas yr −1 . When combined with our measured systemic velocity, this proper motion suggests that Pegasus IV is on an elliptical, retrograde orbit, and is currently near its orbital apocenter. Lastly, we identify three potential RR Lyrae variable stars within Pegasus IV, including one candidate member located more than 10 half-light radii away from the system’s centroid. The discovery of yet another ultra-faint dwarf galaxy strongly suggests that the census of Milky Way satellites is still incomplete, even within 100 kpc. 
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  6. Abstract We report the detection of three RR Lyrae (RRL) stars (two RRc and one RRab) in the ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxy Centaurus I (Cen I) and two Milky Way (MW) δ Scuti/SX Phoenicis stars based on multi-epoch giz DECam observations. The two RRc stars are located within two times the half-light radius ( r h ) of Cen I, while the RRab star (CenI-V3) is at ∼6 r h . The presence of three distant RRL stars clustered this tightly in space represents a 4.7 σ excess relative to the smooth distribution of RRL in the Galactic halo. Using the newly detected RRL stars, we obtain a distance modulus to Cen I of μ 0 = 20.354 ± 0.002 mag ( σ = 0.03 mag), a heliocentric distance of D ⊙ = 117.7 ± 0.1 kpc ( σ = 1.6 kpc), with systematic errors of 0.07 mag and 4 kpc. The location of the Cen I RRL stars in the Bailey diagram is in agreement with other UFD galaxies (mainly Oosterhoff II). Finally, we study the relative rate of RRc+RRd (RRcd) stars ( f cd ) in UFD and classical dwarf galaxies. The full sample of MW dwarf galaxies gives a mean of f cd = 0.28. While several UFD galaxies, such as Cen I, present higher RRcd ratios, if we combine the RRL populations of all UFD galaxies, the RRcd ratio is similar to the one obtained for the classical dwarfs ( f cd ∼ 0.3). Therefore, there is no evidence for a different fraction of RRcd stars in UFD and classical dwarf galaxies. 
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  7. Abstract

    We perform a search for galaxy–galaxy strong lens systems using a convolutional neural network (CNN) applied to imaging data from the first public data release of the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey, which contains ∼520 million astronomical sources covering ∼4000 deg2of the southern sky to a 5σpoint–source depth ofg= 24.3,r= 23.9,i= 23.3, andz= 22.8 mag. Following the methodology of similar searches using Dark Energy Camera data, we apply color and magnitude cuts to select a catalog of ∼11 million extended astronomical sources. After scoring with our CNN, the highest-scoring 50,000 images were visually inspected and assigned a score on a scale from 0 (not a lens) to 3 (very probable lens). We present a list of 581 strong lens candidates, 562 of which are previously unreported. We categorize our candidates using their human-assigned scores, resulting in 55 Grade A candidates, 149 Grade B candidates, and 377 Grade C candidates. We additionally highlight eight potential quadruply lensed quasars from this sample. Due to the location of our search footprint in the northern Galactic cap (b> 10 deg) and southern celestial hemisphere (decl. < 0 deg), our candidate list has little overlap with other existing ground-based searches. Where our search footprint does overlap with other searches, we find a significant number of high-quality candidates that were previously unidentified, indicating a degree of orthogonality in our methodology. We report properties of our candidates including apparent magnitude and Einstein radius estimated from the image separation.

     
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  9. Abstract

    We perform a detailed photometric and astrometric analysis of stars in the Jet stream using data from the first data release of the DECam Local Volume Exploration Survey DR1 and Gaia EDR3. We discover that the stream extends over ∼ 29° on the sky (increasing the known length by 18°), which is comparable to the kinematically cold Phoenix, ATLAS, and GD-1 streams. Using blue horizontal branch stars, we resolve a distance gradient along the Jet stream of 0.2 kpc deg−1, with distances ranging fromD∼ 27–34 kpc. We use natural splines to simultaneously fit the stream track, width, and intensity to quantitatively characterize density variations in the Jet stream, including a large gap, and identify substructure off the main track of the stream. Furthermore, we report the first measurement of the proper motion of the Jet stream and find that it is well aligned with the stream track, suggesting the stream has likely not been significantly perturbed perpendicular to the line of sight. Finally, we fit the stream with a dynamical model and find that it is on a retrograde orbit, and is well fit by a gravitational potential including the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud. These results indicate the Jet stream is an excellent candidate for future studies with deeper photometry, astrometry, and spectroscopy to study the potential of the Milky Way and probe perturbations from baryonic and dark matter substructure.

     
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