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Inferring the Andromeda Galaxys mass from its giant southern stream with Bayesian simulation sampling

, : Inferring the Andromeda Galaxys mass from its giant southern stream with Bayesian simulation sampling. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 434(4): 2779-2802

M31 has a giant stream of stars extending far to the south and a great dealof other tidal debris in its halo, much of which is thought to be directlyassociated with the southern stream. We model this structure by means ofBayesian sampling of parameter space, where each sample uses an N-bodysimulation of a satellite disrupting in M31's potential. We combine constraintson stellar surface densities from the Isaac Newton Telescope survey of M31 withkinematic data and photometric distances. This combination of data tightlyconstrains the model, indicating a stellar mass at last pericentric passage oflog(M_s / Msun) = 9.5+-0.1, comparable to the LMC. Any existing remnant of thesatellite is expected to lie in the NE Shelf region beside M31's disk, atvelocities more negative than M31's disk in this region. This rules out theprominent satellites M32 or NGC 205 as the progenitor, but an overdensityrecently discovered in M31's NE disk sits at the edge of the progenitorlocations found in the model. M31's virial mass is constrained in this model tobe log(M200) = 12.3+-0.1, alleviating the previous tension betweenobservational virial mass estimates and expectations from the general galacticpopulation and the timing argument. The techniques used in this paper, whichshould be more generally applicable, are a powerful method of extractingphysical inferences from observational data on tidal debris structures.


DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt1121

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