Proper motions in Kapteyn selected area 103: A preliminary orbit for the virgo stellar stream

Dana I. Casetti-Dinescu, Terrence M. Girard, Steven R. Majewski, A. Katherina Vivas, Ronald Wilhelm, Jeffrey L. Carlin, Timothy C. Beers, William F. Van Altena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We present absolute proper motions in Kapteyn Selected Area (SA) 103. This field is located 7° west of the center of the Virgo Stellar Stream (VSS), and has a well-defined main sequence representing the stream. In SA 103, we identify one RR Lyrae star as a member of the VSS, according to its metallicity, radial velocity, and distance. VSS candidate turnoff and subgiant stars have proper motions consistent with that of the RR Lyrae star. The three-dimensional velocity data imply an orbit with a pericenter of ∼11 kpc and an apocenter of ∼90 kpc. Thus, the VSS comprises tidal debris found near the pericenter of a highly destructive orbit. Examining the six globular clusters at distances larger than 50 kpc from the Galactic center, and the proposed orbit of the VSS, we find one tentative association, NGC 2419. We speculate that NGC 2419 is possibly the nucleus of a disrupted system of which the VSS is a part.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L29-L33
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxy: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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