NGC 147, NGC 185 and CassII: a genetic approach to orbital properties, star formation and tidal debris

Veronica Arias, Magda Guglielmo, Nuwanthika Fernando, Geraint F. Lewis, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Nicholas F. Bate, Anthony Conn, Mike J. Irwin, Annette M. N. Ferguson, Rodrigo A. Ibata, Alan W. McConnachie, Nicolas Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


NGC 147, NGC 185 and Cassiopeia II (CassII) have similar positions in the sky, distances and measured line-of-sight velocities. This proximity in phase space suggests that these three satellites of M31 form a subgroup within the Local Group. Nevertheless, the differences in their star formation history and interstellar medium, and the recent discovery of a stellar stream in NGC 147, combined with the lack of tidal features in the other two satellites, are all indications of complex and diverse interactions between M31 and these three satellites. We use a genetic algorithm to explore the different orbits that these satellites can have and select six sets of orbits that could best explain the observational features of the NGC 147, NGC 185 and CassII satellites. The parameters of these orbits are then used as a starting point for N-body simulations. We present models for which NGC 147, NGC 185 and CassII are a bound group for a total time of at least 1 Gyr but still undergo different interactions with M31 and as a result NGC 147 has a clear stellar stream, whereas the other two satellites have no significant tidal features. This result shows that it is possible to find solutions that reproduce the contrasting properties of the satellites and for which NGC 147-NGC 185-CassII have been gravitationally bound.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1654-1665
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • methods: numerical
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: individual: NGC 147
  • galaxies: individual: NGC 185
  • galaxies: individual: CassII
  • Local Group


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