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Keywords:

  • globular clusters: individual: NGC 5466;
  • Galaxy: halo;
  • Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics;
  • Galaxy: structure

ABSTRACT

Stellar streams provide unique probes of galactic potentials, with the longer streams normally providing the cleaner measurements. In this Letter, we show an example of a short tidal stream that is particularly sensitive to the shape of the Milky Way’s dark matter halo: the globular cluster tidal stream NGC 5466. This stream has an interesting deviation from a smooth orbit at its western edge. We show that such a deviation favours an underlying oblate or triaxial halo (irrespective of plausible variations in the Milky Way disc properties and the specific halo parametrization chosen); spherical or prolate halo shapes can be excluded at a high confidence level. Therefore, more extensive data sets along the NGC 5466 tidal stream promise strong constraints on the Milky Way halo shape.