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List of stellar streams

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Stellar streams in the Milky Way, discovered in 2007

This is a list of stellar streams. A stellar stream is an association of stars orbiting a galaxy. It was once a globular cluster or dwarf galaxy that has now been torn apart and stretched out along its orbit by tidal forces.[1] An exception in the list about Milky Way streams given below is the Magellanic Stream, composed of gas (mostly hydrogen), although in 2023 a population of stars has been described inside it.[2]

Local Group streams[edit]

Milky Way streams[edit]

Recent stellar streams on the Milky Way studied by the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S⁵ collaboration) using the Anglo-Australian Telescope (2022)[3][4]
Known streams in the Milky Way[5]
Name Origin Mass
(solar masses)
Composition Discovery year
Arcturus stream Defunct dwarf galaxy Unknown Unknown Old stars deficient in heavy elements 1971[5]
Magellanic Stream Large and Small Magellanic Clouds 200 million 1 million Hydrogen gas 1972
Sagittarius Stream Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy 100 million 1 million Wide variety of stars 1994
Helmi stream Defunct dwarf galaxy 10—100 million Several complete loops around the Milky Way Old stars deficient in heavy elements 1999
Palomar 5 stream Globular cluster Palomar 5 5,000 30,000 Old stars 2001
Virgo stream Defunct dwarf galaxy 30,000 2001
Monoceros ring Canis Major Overdensity 100 million 200,000 Intermediate age stars 2002
Anticenter stream Defunct dwarf galaxy Unknown 30,000 Old stars 2006
GD-1 Globular cluster Metal-poor stars 2006[6]
NGC 5466 stream
45 Degree tidal stream
Globular cluster NGC 5466 10,000 60,000 Very old stars 2006[7][8]
Orphan stream Unknown source (hence its name) Unknown[9] 20,000 Old stars 2006
Acheron stream Globular cluster 2007[7][10]
Boötes III stream Embedded in, and possible progenitor of the Styx stream 2007[7][10]
Cocytus stream Globular cluster 2007[7][10]
Lethe stream Globular cluster 2007[10]
Styx stream Defunct dwarf galaxy (possibly Boötes III) 2007[7][10]
Cetus Polar Stream Defunct dwarf galaxy Unknown Unknown Old stars 2009[11]
Aquarius Stream Defunct dwarf galaxy Unknown 30,000 Old stars 2010
Lamost 1 Disrupted globular cluster 21,000 Intermediate-age stars 2015[12]
Phoenix Stream Disrupted globular cluster Unknown 8,000 Very old stars[13][14] 2016[15]
S1 Stream disrupted dwarf galaxy 94 2017[16][17]
Fimbulthul stream Globular cluster Omega Centauri 318 2019[18]
Pisces-Eridanus stream disrupted cluster or association 2,000 1,300 very young (~120 Myr) nearby (260 - 870 light-years) stream[19] 2019 [20]
Nyx stream remnant of a disrupted dwarf galaxy — long-ago galaxy merger about 200 stars 2020[21][22]
Specter disrupted ultra-faint dwarf galaxy 2,000 18,000 2022[23]

Andromeda Galaxy streams[edit]

Known streams in the Andromeda Galaxy
Name Origin Mass
(solar masses)
Composition Discovery year
M31 Giant stellar stream[citation needed]
Andromeda NE stellar stream[24] 2004
Tidal Stream Northwest (Tidal Stream E and F)[25] 2009
Tidal Stream Southwest[25] 2009
East Cloud[citation needed]
North Spur[citation needed]
Stream A[citation needed]
Stream B[citation needed]
Stream C[citation needed]
Stream D[citation needed]

Streams beyond the Local Group[edit]

NGC 5387 with its stellar stream

Due to new deeper sky surveys, such as the DESI Legacy Imaging Survey, a large number of streams are to be expected to be discovered in the future. An initial search in 2023 by Martínez-Delgado et al. searched 389 galaxies and found 89 candidates with stellar streams (22,9%). They plan to search about 3100 galaxies, which might yield hundreds of candidates. In the pasts less sensitive surveys such as SDSS were only able to detect the brightest stellar streams.[26]

Other known streams outside the Local Group
Name Location Origin Mass
(solar masses)
Composition Characteristics Discovery year
Young Blue Tidal Stream[27] NGC 5128 A gas fragment or
a dwarf galaxy
NGC 4013[28] former dwarf satellite
with low inclination orbit
large looping structure 2008
NGC 5907[29] low-mass satellite accretion multiple surrounding loops 2009
NGC 4651[30] satellite accretion narrow jet-like structure and surrounding debris shell 2010
NGC 3521[30] satellite accretion jet-like structure and surrounding debris shell 2010
NGC 7531[30] satellite accretion surrounding debris shell 2010
NGC 1084[30] satellite accretion three giant disconnected plumes of similar width 2010
NGC 4216[30] satellite accretion ongoing tidal disruption of satellite galaxies
seen as long tails extending from the progenitor satellite
NGC 1055[30] satellite accretion clear box shaped inner halo sprinkled with a plethora of coherent spikes 2010
NGC 5291[31] galaxy interaction two separate tidal tails to the north and south ?
petal of the sunflower Messier 63 (NGC 5055)[32] dwarf satellite accretion 4x108 1979/2011
NGC 5387[33] satellite accretion 6x108 11.7 kpc young stars enhanced star formation, metal-poor 2014
feather on the hat Messier 104 (NGC 4594)[34] major merger extremely metal rich 2021

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schilling, Govert (January 12, 2022). "Stellar streams are revealing their secrets". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  2. ^ Chandra, Vedant &+ (27 June 2023). "Discovery of the Magellanic Stellar Stream Out to 100 KPC". The Astrophysical Journal. 956 (2): 110. arXiv:2306.15719. Bibcode:2023ApJ...956..110C. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/acf7bf.
  3. ^ Li, Ting S.; Ji, Alexander P.; Pace, Andrew B.; Erkal, Denis; Koposov, Sergey E.; Shipp, Nora; Da Costa, Gary S.; Cullinane, Lara R.; Kuehn, Kyler; Lewis, Geraint F.; Mackey, Dougal (2022-01-02). "S 5: The Orbital and Chemical Properties of One Dozen Stellar Streams". The Astrophysical Journal. 928 (1): 30. arXiv:2110.06950. Bibcode:2022ApJ...928...30L. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac46d3. S2CID 238856998.
  4. ^ "Twelve for dinner: The Milky Way's feeding habits shine a light on dark matter". Dunlap Institute. Retrieved 2022-01-17.
  5. ^ a b Ibata, Rodrigo & Gibson, Brad (April 2007). "The Ghosts of Galaxies Past". Scientific American. 296 (4): 40–45. Bibcode:2007SciAm.296d..40I. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0407-40. PMID 17479629.
  6. ^ Grillmair, C.J. & Dionatos, O. (2 May 2006). "Detection of a 63° cold stellar stream in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey". The Astrophysical Journal. 643 (1): L17–L20. arXiv:astro-ph/0604332. Bibcode:2006ApJ...643L..17G. doi:10.1086/505111. ISSN 0004-637X. S2CID 8561289.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Rings around the galaxy". Astronomy. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  8. ^ Grillmair, C. J. & Johnson, R. (8 February 2006). "The Detection of a 45° Tidal Stream Associated with the Globular Cluster NGC 5466". The Astrophysical Journal. 639 (1): L17–L20. arXiv:astro-ph/0602602. Bibcode:2006ApJ...639L..17G. doi:10.1086/501439. S2CID 17925570.
  9. ^ Newberg, Heidi Jo; Willett, Benjamin A.; Yanny, Brian & Xu, Yan (5 February 2010). "The Orbit of the Orphan Stream". The Astrophysical Journal. 711 (1): 32–49. arXiv:1001.0576. Bibcode:2010ApJ...711...32N. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/711/1/32. S2CID 91177423.
  10. ^ a b c d e Grillmair, C.J. (5 March 2009). "Four new stellar debris streams in the galactic halo". The Astrophysical Journal. 693 (2): 1118–1127. arXiv:0811.3965. Bibcode:2009ApJ...693.1118G. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/693/2/1118. S2CID 17328907.
  11. ^ Newberg, Heidi Jo; Yanny, Brian & Willett, Benjamin A. (10 July 2009). "Discovery of a new, polar-orbiting debris stream in the Milky Way stellar halo". The Astrophysical Journal. 700 (2): L61–L64. arXiv:0906.3291. Bibcode:2009ApJ...700L..61N. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/700/2/L61. S2CID 118395419.
  12. ^ Vickers, John J.; Smith, Martin C.; Hou, Yonghui; Wang, Yuefei & Zhang, Yong (23 December 2015). "LAMOST 1: A disrupted satellite in the constellation Draco". The Astrophysical Journal. 816 (1): L2 (5 pp). arXiv:1512.05090. Bibcode:2016ApJ...816L...2V. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/816/1/L2. S2CID 118542097.
  13. ^ Wan, Zhen; Lewis, Geraint F.; Li, Ting S.; Simpson, Jeffrey D.; Martell, Sarah L.; Zucker, Daniel B.; et al. (29 July 2020). "The tidal remnant of an unusually metal-poor globular cluster". Nature. 583 (7818): 768–770. arXiv:2007.14577. Bibcode:2020Natur.583..768W. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2483-6. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 32728241. S2CID 220845585.
  14. ^ Wan, J. M. Diederiky (29 July 2020). "Observations of a star system called the Phoenix stellar stream offer the first evidence of vanished star clusters that had extremely low levels of heavy elements. Their remnants might cast light on the early assembly of the Milky Way". News and views / Astronomy and astrophysics. Nature. 583 (7818): 768–770. arXiv:2007.14577. Bibcode:2020Natur.583..768W. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2483-6. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 32728241. S2CID 220845585.
  15. ^ Balbinot, E.; Yanny, B.; Li, T.S.; Santiago, B.; Marshall, J.L.; Finley, D.A.; et al. (March 2016). "The Phoenix Stream: A cold stream in the southern hemisphere". Astrophysical Journal. 820 (1): 58. arXiv:1509.04283. Bibcode:2016ApJ...820...58B. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/820/1/58. ISSN 0004-637X. S2CID 12590274.
  16. ^ Myeong, G C; Evans, N W; Belokurov, V; Amorisco, N C; Koposov, S E (2017-12-20). "Halo substructure in the SDSS--Gaia catalogue: streams and clumps". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 475 (2). Oxford University Press (OUP): 1537–1548. arXiv:1712.04071. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx3262. ISSN 0035-8711.
  17. ^ O’Hare, Ciaran A. J.; McCabe, Christopher; Evans, N. Wyn; Myeong, GyuChul; Belokurov, Vasily (2018-11-07). "Dark matter hurricane: Measuring the S1 stream with dark matter detectors". Physical Review D. 98 (10): 103006. arXiv:1807.09004. Bibcode:2018PhRvD..98j3006O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.98.103006. ISSN 2470-0010.
  18. ^ Malhan, Khyati (23 April 2019). "Ghostly tributaries to our galaxy: Catastrophic tale of the most massive globular cluster of the Milky Way". Nature Research Astronomy Community. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  19. ^ Curtis, Jason L.; Agüeros, Marcel A.; Mamajek, Eric E.; Wright, Jason T. & Cummings, Jeffrey D. (August 2019). "TESS reveals that the nearby Pisces-Eridanus stellar stream is only 120 Myr old". The Astrophysical Journal. 158 (2): 77. arXiv:1905.10588. Bibcode:2019AJ....158...77C. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ab2899. ISSN 0004-6256.
  20. ^ Meingast, Stefan; Alves, João & Fürnkranz, Verena (February 2019). "Extended stellar systems in the solar neighborhood. II. Discovery of a nearby 120° stellar stream in Gaia DR2". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 622: L13. arXiv:1901.06387. Bibcode:2019A&A...622L..13M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201834950. ISSN 0004-6361.
  21. ^ "Nyx: Stellar stream of stars discovered in Milky Way that originated in another galaxy". ScitechDaily. 8 July 2020.
  22. ^ Necib, L.; Ostdiek, B.; Lisanti, M.; et al. (6 July 2020). "Evidence for a vast prograde stellar stream in the solar vicinity". Nature Astronomy. 4 (11): 1078–1083. arXiv:1907.07190. Bibcode:2020NatAs...4.1078N. doi:10.1038/s41550-020-1131-2. S2CID 197430957.
  23. ^ Chandra, Vedant; Conroy, Charlie; Caldwell, Nelson; Bonaca, Ana; Naidu, Rohan P.; Zaritsky, Dennis; Cargile, Phillip A.; Han, Jiwon Jesse; Johnson, Benjamin D.; Speagle, Joshua S.; Ting, Yuan-Sen; Woody, Turner (2022). "A Ghost in Boötes: The Least-Luminous Disrupted Dwarf Galaxy". The Astrophysical Journal. 940 (2): 127. arXiv:2207.13717. Bibcode:2022ApJ...940..127C. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac9b4b. S2CID 251134878.
  24. ^ Zucker, Daniel B.; Kniazev, Alexei Y.; Bell, Eric F.; Martinez-Delgado, David; Grebel, Eva K.; Rix, Hans-Walter; et al. (10 August 2004). "A New Giant Stellar Structure in the Outer Halo of M31". The Astrophysical Journal. 612 (2): L117–L120. arXiv:astro-ph/0401098. Bibcode:2004ApJ...612L.117Z. doi:10.1086/424706. S2CID 16057037.
  25. ^ a b "New tidal streams found in Andromeda reveal history of galactic mergers". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  26. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; Cooper, Andrew P.; Román, Javier; Pillepich, Annalisa; Erkal, Denis; Pearson, Sarah; Moustakas, John; Laporte, Chervin F. P.; Laine, Seppo; Akhlaghi, Mohammad; Lang, Dustin; Makarov, Dmitry; Borlaff, Alejandro S.; Donatiello, Giuseppe; Pearson, William J. (2023-03-01). "Hidden depths in the local Universe: The Stellar Stream Legacy Survey". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 671: A141. arXiv:2104.06071. Bibcode:2023A&A...671A.141M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202245011. ISSN 0004-6361.
  27. ^ Peng, Eric W.; Ford, Holland C.; Freeman, Kenneth C.; White, Richard L. (December 2002). "A Young Blue Tidal Stream in NGC 5128". The Astronomical Journal. 124 (6): 3144–3156. arXiv:astro-ph/0208422. Bibcode:2002AJ....124.3144P. doi:10.1086/344308. S2CID 16642381.
  28. ^ Martinez-Delgado, David; Pohlen, Michael; Gabany, R. Jay; Majewski, Steven R.; Penarrubia, Jorge; Palma, Chris (23 February 2009). "Discovery of a Giant Stellar Tidal Stream Around the Disk Galaxy NGC 4013". The Astrophysical Journal. 692 (2): 955–963. arXiv:0801.4657. Bibcode:2009ApJ...692..955M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/692/2/955. S2CID 14957582.
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  31. ^ Médéric Boquien; Pierre-Alain Duc; Jonathan Braine; Elias Brinks; et al. (2007). "Polychromatic view of intergalactic star formation in NGC 5291". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 467 (1): 93–106. arXiv:astro-ph/0703002. Bibcode:2007A&A...467...93B. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20066692. S2CID 5822678.
  32. ^ Chonis, Taylor S.; Martínez-Delgado, David; Gabany, R. Jay; Majewski, Steven R.; Hill, Gary J.; Gralak, Ray; Trujillo, Ignacio (2011-11-01). "A Petal of the Sunflower: Photometry of the Stellar Tidal Stream in the Halo of Messier 63 (NGC 5055)". The Astronomical Journal. 142 (5): 166. arXiv:1109.0019. Bibcode:2011AJ....142..166C. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/142/5/166. hdl:2152/34376. ISSN 0004-6256.
  33. ^ Beaton, Rachael L.; Martínez-Delgado, David; Majewski, Steven R.; D'Onghia, Elena; Zibetti, Stefano; Gabany, R. Jay; Johnson, Kelsey E.; Blanton, Michael; Verbiscer, Anne (2014-08-01). "Cannibalization and Rebirth in the NGC 5387 System. I. The Stellar Stream and Star-forming Region". The Astrophysical Journal. 790 (2): 117. arXiv:1312.0585. Bibcode:2014ApJ...790..117B. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/790/2/117. ISSN 0004-637X.
  34. ^ Martínez-Delgado, David; Román, Javier; Erkal, Denis; Schirmer, Mischa; Roca-Fàbrega, Santi; Laine, Seppo; Donatiello, Giuseppe; Jimenez, Manuel; Malin, David; Carballo-Bello, Julio A. (2021-10-01). "A feather on the hat: tracing the giant stellar stream around the Sombrero galaxy". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 506 (4): 5030–5038. arXiv:2106.04548. Bibcode:2021MNRAS.506.5030M. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab1874. ISSN 0035-8711.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]