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  1. 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
  2. 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

    Clusters of galaxies trace the most non-linear peaks in the cosmic density field. The weak gravitational lensing of background galaxies by clusters can allow us to infer their masses. However, galaxies associated with the local environment of the cluster can also be intrinsically aligned due to the local tidal gradient, contaminating any cosmology derived from the lensing signal. We measure this intrinsic alignment in Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 1 redMaPPer clusters. We find evidence of a non-zero mean radial alignment of galaxies within clusters between redshifts 0.1–0.7. We find a significant systematic in the measured ellipticities of cluster satellite galaxies that we attribute to the central galaxy flux and other intracluster light. We attempt to correct this signal, and fit a simple model for intrinsic alignment amplitude (AIA) to the measurement, finding AIA = 0.15 ± 0.04, when excluding data near the edge of the cluster. We find a significantly stronger alignment of the central galaxy with the cluster dark matter halo at low redshift and with higher richness and central galaxy absolute magnitude (proxies for cluster mass). This is an important demonstration of the ability of large photometric data sets like DES to provide direct constraints on the intrinsic alignment of galaxies within clusters. These measurements can inform improvements to small-scale modelling and simulation of the intrinsic alignment of galaxies to help improve the separation of the intrinsic alignment signal in weak lensing studies.

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  4. 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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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  5. null (Ed.)

    The fiducial cosmological analyses of imaging surveys like DES typically probe the Universe at redshifts z < 1. We present the selection and characterization of high-redshift galaxy samples using DES Year 3 data, and the analysis of their galaxy clustering measurements. In particular, we use galaxies that are fainter than those used in the previous DES Year 3 analyses and a Bayesian redshift scheme to define three tomographic bins with mean redshifts around z ∼ 0.9, 1.2, and 1.5, which extend the redshift coverage of the fiducial DES Year 3 analysis. These samples contain a total of about 9 million galaxies, and their galaxy density is more than 2 times higher than those in the DES Year 3 fiducial case. We characterize the redshift uncertainties of the samples, including the usage of various spectroscopic and high-quality redshift samples, and we develop a machine-learning method to correct for correlations between galaxy density and survey observing conditions. The analysis of galaxy clustering measurements, with a total signal to noise S/N ∼ 70 after scale cuts, yields robust cosmological constraints on a combination of the fraction of matter in the Universe Ωm and the Hubble parameter h, $\Omega _m h = 0.195^{+0.023}_{-0.018}$, and 2–3  per cent measurements of the amplitude of the galaxy clustering signals, probing galaxy bias and the amplitude of matter fluctuations, bσ8. A companion paper (in preparation) will present the cross-correlations of these high-z samples with cosmic microwave background lensing from Planck and South Pole Telescope, and the cosmological analysis of those measurements in combination with the galaxy clustering presented in this work.

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  7. Abstract

    We combine photometry of Eris from a 6 month campaign on the Palomar 60 inch telescope in 2015, a 1 month Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 campaign in 2018, and Dark Energy Survey data spanning 2013–2018 to determine a light curve of definitive period 15.771 ± 0.008 days (1σformal uncertainties), with nearly sinusoidal shape and peak-to-peak flux variation of 3%. This is consistent at part-per-thousand precision with theP= 15.785 90 ± 0.00005 day sidereal period of Dysnomia’s orbit around Eris, strengthening the recent detection of synchronous rotation of Eris by Szakáts et al. with independent data. Photometry from Gaia are consistent with the same light curve. We detect a slope of 0.05 ± 0.01 mag per degree of Eris’s brightness with respect to illumination phase averaged acrossg,V, andrbands, intermediate between Pluto’s and Charon’s values. Variations of 0.3 mag are detected in Dysnomia’s brightness, plausibly consistent with a double-peaked light curve at the synchronous period. The synchronous rotation of Eris is consistent with simple tidal models initiated with a giant-impact origin of the binary, but is difficult to reconcile with gravitational capture of Dysnomia by Eris. The high albedo contrast between Eris and Dysnomia remains unexplained in the giant-impact scenario.

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    We present direct constraints on galaxy intrinsic alignments (IAs) using the Dark Energy Survey Year 3 (DES Y3), the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), and its precursor, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Our measurements incorporate photometric red sequence (redMaGiC) galaxies from DES with median redshift z ∼ 0.2–1.0, luminous red galaxies from eBOSS at z ∼ 0.8, and also an SDSS-III BOSS CMASS sample at z ∼ 0.5. We measure two-point IA correlations, which we fit using a model that includes lensing, magnification, and photometric redshift error. Fitting on scales 6 Mpc h−1 < rp < 70 Mpc h−1, we make a detection of IAs in each sample, at 5σ–22σ (assuming a simple one-parameter model for IAs). Using these red samples, we measure the IA–luminosity relation. Our results are statistically consistent with previous results, but offer a significant improvement in constraining power, particularly at low luminosity. With this improved precision, we see detectable dependence on colour between broadly defined red samples. It is likely that a more sophisticated approach than a binary red/blue split, which jointly considers colour and luminosity dependence in the IA signal, will be needed in future. We also compare the various signal components at the best-fitting point in parameter space for each sample, and find that magnification and lensing contribute $\sim 2\!-\!18~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the total signal. As precision continues to improve, it will certainly be necessary to account for these effects in future direct IA measurements. Finally, we make equivalent measurements on a sample of emission-line galaxies from eBOSS at z ∼ 0.8. We constrain the non-linear alignment amplitude to be $A_1=0.07^{+0.32}_{-0.42}$ (|A1| < 0.78 at 95 per cent CL).

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