Variable Stars in the Giant Satellite Galaxy Antlia 2

Change log

We report 350 pulsating variable stars found in four DECam fields (∼12 sq. deg.) covering the Antlia 2 satellite galaxy. The sample of variables includes 318 RR Lyrae stars and eight anomalous Cepheids in the galaxy. Reclassification of several objects designated previously to be RR Lyrae as Anomalous Cepheids gets rid of the satellite's stars intervening along the line of sight. This in turn removes the need for prolific tidal disruption of the dwarf, in agreement with the recently updated proper motion and peri-centre measurements based on Gaia EDR3. There are also several bright foreground RR Lyrae stars in the field, and two distant background variables located ∼45 kpc behind Antlia 2. We found RR Lyrae stars over the full search area, suggesting that the galaxy is very large and likely extends beyond our observed area. The mean period of the RRab in Antlia 2 is 0.599 days, while the RRc have a mean period of 0.368 days, indicating the galaxy is an Oosterhoff-intermediate system. The distance to Antlia 2 based on the RR Lyrae stars is 124.1 kpc (μ0=20.47) with a dispersion of 5.4 kpc. We measured a clear distance gradient along the semi-major axis of the galaxy, with the South-East side of Antlia 2 being ∼13 kpc farther away from the North-West side. This elongation along the line of sight is likely due to the ongoing tidal disruption of Ant 2.

astro-ph.GA, astro-ph.GA
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Astrophysical Journal
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American Astronomical Society