Detection of a population gradient in the Sagittarius stream

M. Bellazzini, H. J. Newberg, M. Correnti, F. R. Ferraro, L. Monaco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We present a quantitative comparison between the Horizontal Branch morphology in the core of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy (Sgr) and in a wide field sampling a portion of its tidal stream (Sgr Stream), located tens of kpc away from the center of the parent galaxy. We find that the Blue Horizontal Branch (BHB) stars in that part of the Stream are five times more abundant than in the Sgr core, relative to Red Clump stars. The difference in the ratio of BHB to RC stars between the two fields is significant at the ≳4.8σ level. This indicates that the old and metal-poor population of Sgr was preferentially stripped from the galaxy in past peri-Galactic passages with respect to the intermediate-age metal rich population that presently dominates the bound core of Sgr, probably due to a strong radial gradient that was settled within the galaxy before its disruption. The technique adopted in the present study allows to trace population gradients along the whole extension of the Stream.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L21-L24
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Stars: horizontal-branch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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