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Dynamical modelling of stellar streams in a cosmological setting

PhD ceremony:Mr J.T. (Hans) Buist
When:September 11, 2015
Supervisor:prof. dr. A. (Amina) Helmi
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Dynamical modelling of stellar streams in a cosmological setting

Stellar streams are created when small groups of stars such as dwarf galaxies and globular clusters are torn apart by tides as they move around a larger galaxy. In the case of the Milky Way, it is believed that the stellar halo is full of such structures.

In this Thesis I analysed the behaviour of stellar streams under the influence of a growing galaxy, as expected in a cosmological context. Since a stream almost delineates an orbit around a galaxy, its properties depend only on the gravitational pull from the Milky Way, and on how this has grown with time. I discovered a particular signature of this evolution in the models developed in the thesis that will help uncover the growth of the Milky Way with upcoming datasets. I also found that the effect of a growing galaxy can bias the determination of the present-day mass distribution of the Milky Way.