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Creating mock catalogues of stellar haloes from cosmological simulations

Lowing, B.; Wang, W.; Cooper, A; Kennedy, R.; Helly, J.; Cole, S.; Frenk, C.

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B. Lowing

W. Wang

A Cooper

R. Kennedy

J. Helly


We present a new technique for creating mock catalogues of the individual stars that make up the accreted component of stellar haloes in cosmological simulations and show how the catalogues can be used to test and interpret observational data. The catalogues are constructed from a combination of methods. A semi-analytic galaxy formation model is used to calculate the star formation history in haloes in an N-body simulation and dark matter particles are tagged with this stellar mass. The tags are converted into individual stars using a stellar population synthesis model to obtain the number density and evolutionary stage of the stars, together with a phase-space sampling method that distributes the stars while ensuring that the phase-space structure of the original N-body simulation is maintained. A set of catalogues based on the Λ cold dark matter Aquarius simulations of Milky Way mass haloes have been created and made publicly available on a website. Two example applications are discussed that demonstrate the power and flexibility of the mock catalogues. We show how the rich stellar substructure that survives in the stellar halo precludes a simple measurement of its density profile and demonstrate explicitly how pencil-beam surveys can return almost any value for the slope of the profile. We also show that localized variations in the abundance of particular types of stars, a signature of differences in the composition of stellar populations, allow streams to be easily identified.


Lowing, B., Wang, W., Cooper, A., Kennedy, R., Helly, J., Cole, S., & Frenk, C. (2015). Creating mock catalogues of stellar haloes from cosmological simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 446(3), 2274-2290.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 27, 2014
Publication Date Jan 21, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 15, 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 446
Issue 3
Pages 2274-2290
Keywords Methods: numerical, Galaxies: haloes.


Published Journal Article (4.5 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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