Giant GAlaxies, Dwarfs, and Debris Survey. I. Dwarf galaxies and tidal features around NGC 7331.
LUDWIG J., PASQUALI A., GREBEL E.K. and GALLAGHER III J.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Giant GAlaxies, Dwarfs, and Debris Survey (GGADDS) concentrates on the nearby universe to study how galaxies have interacted in groups of different morphology, density, and richness. In these groups, we select the dominant spiral galaxy and search its surroundings for dwarf galaxies and tidal interactions. This paper presents the first results from deep wide-field imaging of NGC 7331, where we detect only four low-luminosity candidate dwarf companions and a stellar stream that may be evidence of a past tidal interaction. The dwarf galaxy candidates have surface brightnesses of µr~ 23-25 mag/arcsec2 with (g - r)0 colors of 0.57-0.75 mag in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey filter system, consistent with their being dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies. A faint stellar stream structure on the western edge of NGC 7331 has µg~ 27 mag/arcsec2 and a relatively blue color of (g - r)0= 0.15 mag. If it is tidal debris, then this stream could have formed from a rare type of interaction between NGC 7331 and a dwarf irregular or transition-type dwarf galaxy. We compare the structure and local environments of NGC 7331 to those of other nearby giant spirals in small galaxy groups. NGC 7331 has a much lower (∼2%) stellar mass in the form of early-type satellites than found for M31 and lacks the presence of nearby companions like luminous dwarf elliptical galaxies or the Magellanic Clouds. However, our detection of a few dSph candidates suggests that it is not deficient in low-luminosity satellites.