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Astron. Astrophys. 347, 77-91 (1999)

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Sagittarius, a dwarf spheroidal galaxy without dark matter?

M.A. Gómez-Flechoso, R. Fux and L. Martinet

Geneva Observatory, Ch. des Maillettes 51, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland

Received 2 November 1998 / Accepted 16 April 1999


The existence of dwarf spheroidal galaxies with high internal velocity dispersions orbiting in the Milky Way raises questions about their dark matter content and lifetime. In this paper, we present an alternative solution to the dark matter dominated satellites proposed by Ibata & Lewis (1998) for the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. We performed simulations of two kinds of N-body satellites: the first models (f-models) could correspond to satellites with high dark matter content and they represent initially isolated models. The second models (s-models) have either low or negligible dark matter content and they are constructed in a tidal field. In spite of being on the same orbits, the s-models are able to produce a better agreement with some observational constraints concerning Sagittarius. From our simulations, we can also infer that Sagittarius is in the process of being disrupted.

Key words: methods: numerical – galaxies: individual: Sagittarius dwarf – galaxies: interactions – galaxies: Local Group – cosmology: dark matter

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: June 18, 1999