The discovery of seven extremely low surface brightness galaxies in the field of the nearby spiral galaxy M101.
MERRITT A., VAN DOKKUM P. and ABRAHAM R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Dwarf satellite galaxies are a key probe of dark matter and of galaxy formation on small scales and of the dark matter halo masses of their central galaxies. They have very low surface brightness, which makes it difficult to identify and study them outside of the Local Group. We used a low surface brightness-optimized telescope, the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, to search for dwarf galaxies in the field of the massive spiral galaxy M101. We identify seven large, low surface brightness objects in this field, with effective radii of 10-30 arcseconds and central surface brightnesses of µg∼ 25.5-27.5 mag/arcsec2. Given their large apparent sizes and low surface brightnesses, these objects would likely be missed by standard galaxy searches in deep fields. Assuming the galaxies are dwarf satellites of M101, their absolute magnitudes are in the range -11.6 ≲ MV ≲ -9.3 and their effective radii are 350 pc-1.3 kpc. Their radial surface brightness profiles are well fit by Sersic profiles with a very low Sersic index (n ∼ 0.3-0.7). The properties of the sample are similar to those of well-studied dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, such as Sextans I and Phoenix. Distance measurements are required to determine whether these galaxies are in fact associated with M101 or are in its foreground or background.