AuriDESI: mock catalogues for the DESI Milky Way Survey

Namitha Kizhuprakkat, Andrew P. Cooper, Alexander H. Riley, Sergey E. Koposov, Jessica Nicole Aguilar, Steven Ahlen, Carlos Allende Prieto, David Brooks, Todd Claybaugh, Kyle Dawson, Axel de la Macorra, Peter Doel, Jaime E. Forero-Romero, Carlos Frenk, Enrique Gaztañaga, Oleg Y. Gnedin, Robert J.J. Grand, Satya Gontcho A. Gontcho, Klaus Honscheid, Robert KehoeMartin Landriau, Marc Manera, Aaron Meisner, Ramon Miquel, Jundan Nie, Francisco Prada, Mehdi Rezaie, Graziano Rossi, Eusebio Sanchez, Michael Schubnell, Hee Jong Seo, Gregory Tarlé, Monica Valluri, Zhimin Zhou

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The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument Milky Way Survey (DESI MWS) will explore the assembly history of the Milky Way by characterizing remnants of ancient dwarf galaxy accretion events and improving constraints on the distribution of dark matter in the outer halo. We present mock catalogues that reproduce the selection criteria of MWS and the format of the final MWS data set. These catalogues can be used to test methods for quantifying the properties of stellar halo substructure and reconstructing the Milky Way’s accretion history with the MWS data, including the effects of halo-to-halo variance. The mock catalogues are based on a phase-space kernel expansion technique applied to star particles in the Auriga suite of six high-resolution lambda-cold dark matter magnetohydrodynamic zoom-in simulations. They include photometric properties (and associated errors) used in DESI target selection and the outputs of the MWS spectral analysis pipeline (radial velocity, metallicity, surface gravity, and temperature). They also include information from the underlying simulation, such as the total gravitational potential and information on the progenitors of accreted halo stars. We discuss how the subset of halo stars observable by MWS in these simulations corresponds to their true content and properties. These mock Milky Ways have rich accretion histories, resulting in a large number of substructures that span the whole stellar halo out to large distances and have substantial overlap in the space of orbital energy and angular momentum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4108-4137
Number of pages30
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2024


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • galaxies: spiral
  • galaxies: structure
  • Galaxy: general
  • stars: general
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/Y001001/1
  • ST/W003643/1

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