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Making Observational Predictions for the LMC’s Dynamical Friction Wake

Presentation #108.08 in the session Poster Presentations.

Published onApr 25, 2022
Making Observational Predictions for the LMC’s Dynamical Friction Wake

As the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) makes its first infall to the Milky Way (MW), it is predicted to induce a trailing overdensity in the MW’s dark matter, known as a dynamical friction wake. Recently, the stellar counterpart of this wake, a trailing overdensity of stars, has been tentatively detected in the MW’s stellar halo (Conroy et al. 2021). Curiously, the observed stellar wake is denser than theoretically predicted in cold dark matter (CDM) simulations. To understand this discrepancy, it is crucial to determine the extent to which the CDM wake’s self-gravity contributes to the formation of the stellar wake in addition to the LMC’s gravity. We study the formation of the LMC’s CDM and stellar wakes using windtunnel-style N-body simulations, both with and without the CDM wake’s self-gravity. I will present results from this simulation suite, including new predictions for the observable kinematic signatures of the stellar counterpart to the CDM wake. I will also comment on implications for using observations of the LMC’s stellar wake as a probe of DM physics.

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