October 2013 • 2013ApJ...776...26S
Abstract • We report positions, velocities, and metallicities of 50 ab-type RR Lyrae (RRab) stars observed in the vicinity of the Orphan stellar stream. Using about 30 RRab stars classified as being likely members of the Orphan stream, we study the metallicity and the spatial extent of the stream. We find that RRab stars in the Orphan stream have a wide range of metallicities, from -1.5 dex to -2.7 dex. The average metallicity of the stream is -2.1 dex, identical to the value obtained by Newberg et al. using blue horizontal branch stars. We find that the most distant parts of the stream (40-50 kpc from the Sun) are about 0.3 dex more metal-poor than the closer parts (within ~30 kpc), suggesting a possible metallicity gradient along the stream's length. We have extended the previous studies and have mapped the stream up to 55 kpc from the Sun. Even after a careful search, we did not identify any more distant RRab stars that could plausibly be members of the Orphan stream. If confirmed with other tracers, this result would indicate a detection of the end of the leading arm of the stream. We have compared the distances of Orphan stream RRab stars with the best-fit orbits obtained by Newberg et al. We find that model 6 of Newberg et al. cannot explain the distances of the most remote Orphan stream RRab stars, and conclude that the best fit to distances of Orphan stream RRab stars and to the local circular velocity is provided by potentials where the total mass of the Galaxy within 60 kpc is M 60 ~ 2.7 × 1011 M ⊙, or about 60% of the mass found by previous studies. More extensive modeling that would consider non-spherical potentials and the possibility of misalignment between the stream and the orbit is highly encouraged.