The formation of dwarf galaxies in tidal debris: A study of the compact group environment

Sally D. Hunsberger, Jane C. Charlton, Dennis Zaritsky

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103 Scopus citations

Abstract

From R-band images of 42 Hickson compact groups, we present a sample of 47 candidate dwarf galaxies that are associated with the tidal tails and arms in the groups. The candidates, found in 15 tidal features, have R magnitudes and masses (for M/L = 1) in the ranges -16.5 ≤ MR -5 log h75 ≤ -11.5 and 2 × 106 M; ≤ M ≤ 2 × 108 M, respectively. Their masses and locations are compared to the predictions of theoretical/N-body tidal dwarf formation scenarios. Considering the longevity of tidal debris in the compact group environment and the results of this survey, we estimate the contribution of the tidal dwarf formation mechanism to the population of dwarf galaxies observed at large in compact groups. If the majority of our dwarf galaxy candidates are confirmed as being gravitationally bound stellar systems, then a significant fraction, perhaps as much as one-half, of the dwarf population in compact groups is the product of interactions among giant parent galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume462
Issue number1 PART I
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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