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The First Distance Constraint on the Renegade High Velocity Cloud Complex WD
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  • Jason Tumlinson,
  • Yong Zheng,
  • Julia Roman-Duval,
  • Hugues Sana,
  • Rongmon Bordoloi,
  • Josh Peek
Jason Tumlinson

Corresponding Author:tumlinson@stsci.edu

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Yong Zheng
Columbia University
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Julia Roman-Duval
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Hugues Sana
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Rongmon Bordoloi
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Josh Peek
Space Telescope Science Institute
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We present medium-resolution, near-ultraviolet VLT/FLAMES observations of the star USNO-A0600-15865535. We adapt a standard method of stellar typing to our measurement of the shape of the Balmer \(\epsilon\) absorption line to demonstrate that USNO-A0600-15865535 is a blue horizontal branch star, residing in the lower stellar halo at a distance of 4.4 kpc from the Sun. We measure the H & K lines of singly-ionized calcium and find two isolated velocity components, one originating in the disk, and one associated with high-velocity cloud complex WD. This detection demonstrated that complex WD is closer than 4.4 kpc and is the first distance constraint on the +100 km/s Galactic complex of clouds. We find that Complex WD is not in corotation with the Galactic disk as has been assumed for decades. We examine a number of scenarios, and find that the most likely is that Complex WD was ejected from the solar neighborhood and is only a few kpc from the Sun.