The AAT/WFI survey of the Monoceros Ring and Canis Major dwarf galaxy - I. From l = (193-276)°

Blair C. Conn, Richard R. Lane, Geraint F. Lewis, Rodrigo Gil-Merino, Mike J. Irwin, Rodrigo A. Ibata, Nicolas F. Martin, Michele Bellazzini, Robert Sharp, Artem V. Tuntsov, Annette M. N. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the results of an Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) wide field camera survey of the stars in the Monoceros Ring (MRi) and purported Canis Major (CMa) overdensity in the Galactic longitudes of l = (193-276)°. Current numerical simulations suggest that both of these structures are the result of a single on-going accretion event, although an alternative solution is that the warped and flared disc of the Galaxy can explain the origin of both of these structures. Our results show that, with regards the MRi, the warped and flared disc is unable to reproduce the locations and strengths of the detections observed around the Galaxy. This supports a non-Galactic origin for this structure. We report eight new detections and two tentative detections of the MRi in this survey. The exact nature of the CMa overdensity is still unresolved, although this survey provides evidence that invoking the Galactic warp is not a sufficient solution when compared with observation. Several fields in this survey are highly inconsistent with the current Galactic disc models that include a warp and flare, to such an extent that explaining their origins with these structures is problematic. We also report that the blue plume stars previously invoked to support the dwarf galaxy hypothesis are unfounded, and associating them with an outer spiral arm is equally problematic. Standard Galactic models are unable to accommodate all the observations of these new structures, leading away from a warped/flared disc explanation for their origins and more toward a non-Galactic source. Additionally, evidence is presented in favour of a detection of the CMa dwarf stream away from the CMa region. As the outer reaches of the Galactic disc continue to be probed, the fascinating structures that are the MRi and CMa overdensity will no doubt continue to inform us of the unique structure and formation of the Milky Way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-959
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • Galaxy: formation
  • Galaxy: structure
  • galaxies: interactions


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