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Study of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy from the DART CaII triplet survey

  • Battaglia, G.
  • Tolstoy, E.
  • Helmi, A.
  • Irwin, M.
  • Parisi, P.
  • Hill, V.
  • Jablonka, P.
Publication Date
Sep 28, 2010
Submission Date
Sep 24, 2010
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17745.x
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We use VLT/FLAMES intermediate resolution (R~6500) spectra of individual red giant branch stars in the near-infrared CaII triplet (CaT) region to investigate the wide-area metallicity properties and internal kinematics of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph). Our final sample consists of 174 probable members of Sextans with accurate line-of-sight velocities (+- 2 km/s) and CaT [Fe/H] measurements (+- 0.2 dex). We use the MgI line at 8806.8 \AA\, as an empirical discriminator for distinguishing between probable members of the dSph (giant stars) and probable Galactic contaminants (dwarf stars). Sextans shows a similar chemo-dynamical behaviour to other Milky Way dSphs, with its central regions being more metal rich than the outer parts and with the more metal-rich stars displaying colder kinematics than the more metal-poor stars. Hints of a velocity gradient are found along the projected major axis and along an axis at P.A.=191 deg, however a larger and more spatially extended sample may be necessary to pin down the amplitude and direction of this gradient. We detect a cold kinematic substructure at the centre of Sextans, consistent with being the remnant of a disrupted very metal poor stellar cluster. We derive the most extended line-of-sight velocity dispersion profile for Sextans, out to a projected radius of 1.6 deg. From Jeans modelling of the observed line-of-sight velocity dispersion profile we find that this is consistent with both a cored dark matter halo with large core radius and cuspy halo with low concentration. The mass within the last measured point is in the range 2-4 x 10^8 M_sun, giving very large mass-to-light ratios, from 460 to 920 (M/L)_(V,sun).

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