Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 March 2013
We test the hypothesis that high-velocity gas cloud Complex C is actually a high-latitude spiral arm extension in the direction of the Galactic warp, as opposed to the standard interpretation — that of a once extragalactic, but now infalling, gas cloud. A parallel Tree N-body code was employed to simulate the tidal interaction of a satellite perturber with the Milky Way. We find that a model incorporating a perturber of the mass of the Large Magellanic Cloud on a south to north polar orbit, crossing the disk at ˜15 kpc, does yield a high-velocity, high-latitude extension consistent with the spatial, kinematical, and column density properties of Complex C. Unless this massive satellite remains undiscovered because of either a fortuitous alignment with the Galactic bulge (feasible within the framework of the model), or the lack of any associated baryonic component, we conclude that this alternative interpretation appears unlikely.
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