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 4m 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 $r_h=30$ pc and its luminosity is $M_V=-5.5$. 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 this 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 Gyrs. 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 ten degrees to the North of Crater, two ultra-faint satellites Leo IV and V orbit the Galaxy at approximately the same distance. This hints that all three galaxies may once have been closely associated before falling togther into the Milky Way halo.
V. Belokurov, M. Irwin, S. Koposov, et. al.
Mon, 17 Mar 14