LSST Cadence Optimization White Paper in Support of Observations of Unresolved Tidal Stellar Streams in Galaxies beyond the Local Group
Deep observations of faint surface brightness stellar tidal streams in external galaxies with LSST are addressed in this White Paper contribution. We propose using the Wide--Fast--Deep survey that contains several nearby galaxies (at distances where the stars themselves are not resolved, i.e., beyond 20 Mpc). In the context of hierarchical galaxy formation, it is necessary to understand the prevalence and properties of tidal substructure around external galaxies based on integrated (i.e., unresolved) diffuse light. This requires collecting observations on much larger samples of galaxies than the Milky Way and M31. We will compare the observed structures to the predictions of cosmological models of galactic halo formation that inform us about the number and properties of streams around Milky Way-like galaxies. The insight gained from these comparisons will allow us to infer the properties of stream progenitors (masses, dynamics, metallicities, stellar populations). The changes in the host galaxies caused by the interactions with the dissolving companion galaxies will be another focus of our studies. We conclude by discussing synergies with WFIRST and Euclid, and also provide concrete suggestions for how the effects of scattered light could be minimized in LSST images to optimize the search for low surface brightness features, such as faint unresolved stellar tidal streams.