What a Tangled Web We Weave: Hermus as the Northern Extension of the Phoenix Stream

April 2016 • 2016ApJ...820L..27G

Authors • Grillmair, Carl J. • Carlberg, Raymond G.

Abstract • We investigate whether the recently discovered Phoenix stream may be part of a much longer stream that includes the previously discovered Hermus stream. Using a simple model of the Galaxy with a disk, bulge, and a spherical dark matter halo, we show that a nearly circular orbit, highly inclined with respect to the disk, can be found that fits the positions, orientations, and distances of both streams. While the two streams are somewhat misaligned in the sense that they do not occupy the same plane, nodal precession due to the Milky Way disk potential naturally brings the orbit into line with each stream in the course of half an orbit. We consequently consider a common origin for the two streams as plausible. Based on our best-fitting orbit, we make predictions for the positions, distances, radial velocities, and proper motions along each stream. If our hypothesis is borne out by measurements, then at ≈183° (≈235° with respect to the Galactic center) and ≈76 kpc in length, Phoenix-Hermus would become the longest cold stream yet found. This would make it a particularly valuable new probe of the shape and mass of the Galactic halo out to ≈20 kpc.


IPAC Authors


Carl Grillmair

Associate Scientist