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ATLAS lifts the Cup: discovery of a new Milky Way satellite in Crater

Belokurov, V.; Irwin, M.J.; Koposov, S.E.; Evans, N.W.; Gonzalez-Solares, E.; Metcalfe, N.; Shanks, T.

ATLAS lifts the Cup: discovery of a new Milky Way satellite in Crater Thumbnail


V. Belokurov

M.J. Irwin

S.E. Koposov

N.W. Evans

E. Gonzalez-Solares

T. Shanks


We announce the discovery of a new Galactic companion found in data from the ESO VST ATLAS survey, and followed up with deep imaging on the 4-m William Herschel Telescope. The satellite is located in the constellation of Crater (the Cup) at a distance of ∼170 kpc. Its half-light radius is rh = 30 pc and its luminosity is MV = −5.5. The bulk of its stellar population is old and metal poor. We would probably have classified the newly discovered satellite as an extended globular cluster were it not for the presence of a handful of blue loop stars and a sparsely populated red clump. The existence of the core helium burning population implies that star formation occurred in Crater perhaps as recently as 400 Myr ago. No globular cluster has ever accomplished the feat of prolonging its star formation by several Gyr. Therefore, if our hypothesis that the blue bright stars in Crater are blue loop giants is correct, the new satellite should be classified as a dwarf galaxy with unusual properties. Note that only 10°to the north of Crater, two ultrafaint galaxies Leo IV and Leo V orbit the Galaxy at approximately the same distance. This hints that all three satellites may once have been closely associated before falling together into the Milky Way halo.


Belokurov, V., Irwin, M., Koposov, S., Evans, N., Gonzalez-Solares, E., Metcalfe, N., & Shanks, T. (2014). ATLAS lifts the Cup: discovery of a new Milky Way satellite in Crater. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 441(3), 2124-2133.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2014
Publication Date Jul 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 16, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2015
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 441
Issue 3
Pages 2124-2133
Keywords Stars: Hertzsprung–Russell and colour–magnitude diagrams, Galaxy: fundamental parameters, Galaxy: globular clusters: general, Galaxy: halo, Galaxies: dwarf.


Published Journal Article (10.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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