Exploring the variable sky with LINEAR. II. Halo structure and substructure traces by RR Lyrae stars to 30 kpc
August 1, 2013
Astron. J., Vol. 146, No. 21, August 2013.
We present a sample of ~5000 RR Lyrae stars selected from the recalibrated LINEAR data set and detected at heliocentric distances between 5 kpc and 30 kpc over ~8000 deg^2 of sky. The coordinates and light curve properties, such as period and Oosterhoff type, are made publicly available. We analyze in detail the light curve properties and Galactic distribution of the subset of ~4000 type ab RR Lyrae (RRab) stars, including a search for new halo substructures and the number density distribution as a function of Oosterhoff type. We find evidence for the Oosterhoff dichotomy among field RR Lyrae stars, with the ratio of the type II and I subsamples of about 1:4, but with a weaker separation than for globular cluster stars. The wide sky coverage and depth of this sample allow unique constraints for the number density distribution of halo RRab stars as a function of galactocentric distance: it can be described as an oblate ellipsoid with an axis ratio q = 0.63 and with either a single or a double power law with a power-law index in the range -2 to -3. Consistent with previous studies, we find that the Oosterhoff type II subsample has a steeper number density profile than the Oosterhoff type I subsample. Using the group-finding algorithm EnLink, we detected seven candidate halo groups, only one of which is statistically spurious. Three of these groups are near globular clusters (M53/NGC 5053, M3, M13), and one is near a known halo substructure (Virgo Stellar Stream); the remaining three groups do not seem to be near any known halo substructures or globular clusters and seem to have a higher ratio of Oosterhoff type II to Oosterhoff type I RRab stars than what is found in the halo. The extended morphology and the position (outside the tidal radius) of some of the groups near globular clusters are suggestive of tidal streams possibly originating from globular clusters. Spectroscopic follow-up of detected halo groups is encouraged.
We present a sample of ~5000 RR Lyrae stars selected from the recalibrated LINEAR data set and detected at heliocentric distances between 5 kpc and 30 kpc over ~8000 deg^2 of sky. The coordinates and light curve properties, such as period and Oosterhoff type, are made publicly available. We analyze...