The Fornax Dwarf Galaxy as a Remnant of Recent Dwarf-Dwarf Merging in the Local Group
We present results from the first numerical analysis to support the hypothesis, first proposed in Coleman et al., that the Fornax dwarf galaxy was formed from the minor merging of two dwarfs about 2 Gyr ago. Using orbits for the Fornax dwarf that are consistent with the latest proper motion measurements, our dynamical evolution models show that the observed asymmetric shell-like substructures can be formed from the remnant of a smaller dwarf during minor merging. These models also predict the formation of diffuse stellar streams. We discuss how these stellar substructures depend on model parameters of dwarf-dwarf merging, and how the intermediate-age subpopulations found in the vicinity of these substructures may be formed from gas accretion in past merger events. We also suggest that one of Fornax's globular clusters originates from a merged dwarf companion, and demonstrate where as yet undetected tidal streams or H I gas formed from the dwarf merging may be found in the outer halo of the Galaxy.