A Deep View into the Nucleus of the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy with MUSE. II. Kinematic Characterization of the Stellar Populations

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The Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy is in an advanced stage of disruption but still hosts its nuclear star cluster (NSC), M54, at its center. In this paper, we present a detailed kinematic characterization of the three stellar populations present in M54: Young metal-rich (YMR); intermediate-age metal-rich (IMR); and old metal-poor (OMP), based on the spectra of 6500 individual M54 member stars extracted from a large Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE)/Very Large Telescope data set. We find that the OMP population is slightly flattened with a low amount of rotation (0.8 km s-1) and with a velocity dispersion that follows a Plummer profile. The YMR population displays a high amount of rotation (5 km s-1) and a high degree of flattening, with a lower and flat velocity dispersion profile. The IMR population shows a high but flat velocity dispersion profile, with some degree of rotation (2 km s-1). We complement our MUSE data with information from Gaia DR2 and confirm that the stars from the OMP and YMR populations are comoving in 3D space, suggesting that they are dynamically bound. While dynamical evolutionary effects (e.g., energy equipartition) are able to explain the differences in velocity dispersion between the stellar populations, the strong differences in rotation indicate different formation paths for the populations, as supported by an N-body simulation tailored to emulate the YMR-OMP system. This study provides additional evidence for the M54 formation scenario proposed in our previous work, where this NSC formed via GC accretion (OMP) and in situ formation from gas accretion in a rotationally supported disk (YMR).


  • M. Alfaro-Cuello
  • N. Kacharov
  • N. Neumayer
  • P. Bianchini
  • A. Mastrobuono-Battisti
  • N. Lützgendorf
  • A. C. Seth
  • T. Böker
  • S. Kamann
  • R. Leaman
  • L. L. Watkins
  • G. Van De Ven
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
  • ESA, the European Space Agency
  • University of Utah
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • European Southern Observatory
  • University of Vienna
  • Observatory of Strasbourg

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Astronomi, astrofysik och kosmologi
TidskriftAstrophysical Journal
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2020 mar 23
Peer review utfördJa